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Overlanders Unlimited This is a forum to discuss expedition vehicles and trailer options, a place to talk about builds, modifications, and designs, as well as past and future adventure trips.

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  #61  
Old 04-14-2009, 01:40 PM
BlueGerbil BlueGerbil is offline
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April 14, 2009:

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Dear partners, friends, participants, supporters and all we met or who excitingly follow us,

We were bound and determined to return to Russia still in April in order to continue and successfully finish the ?Paris / New York ? Transcontinental? - expedition in 2009. However, on Wednesday, April 8, 2009, after due consideration and the check of all possible scenarios, we had to take the difficult decision to suspend the expedition for app. 6 months. The decision is based on the project goals, whose compliance is top priority for us.

Snow masses, which are exceptional also for the Tschukotka-region, strong gale-force storms and blizzards as well as reparations at the vehicles led to a uncatchable time difference in contrast to the necessary schedule, despite absolutely most effort of the whole team.

The ?driving over the Bering Strait on ice? and the ?traceless managing of all parts (also the difficult app. 2500km at the Alaskan west coast) would not be possible, even not on a route much more in the north. Therefore we will continue the expedition in fall/winter 2009/2010 with the following unchanged goals:

- Accomplishment of a historical, spectacular journey with the use of renewable energies
- Traceless round the world with a CO2-neutral balance
- Driving across the Bering Strait
- On the track of the emigration of nations round the world on wheels for the first time ever

Among others, the upcoming time will be used to neutralize the so far produced amount of CO2 with tree plantings and the preparation for the continuation of the journey. All activities, news, and project steps will be published as usual on the project page www.pny2009.com as well as in the internet panels in all languages.

Matthias Jeschke and J?rgen Graf / project leadership
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  #62  
Old 07-12-2009, 04:04 AM
BlueGerbil BlueGerbil is offline
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Click the logo to enter the Partner15000 site


Initiative Partner15000 ? In joint strength!
Initiative Partner15000 ? In joint success!


Dear partners, friends, companions, supporters, everybody who met us, who had been excited and all people who get connected to the project,

The expedition "Paris / New York - Transcontinental" is aimed to surround the world by car at a CO2 neutral basis. With 400 km (248 miles) the expedition stands on the verge of reaching the Bering Strait. It was a hard fight against forces of nature, technical difficulties and the time. With the support of local people, the expedition teams fought against hurricanes and snow bounds, struggled forward mile for mile till total exhaustion. Now the historical chance, to drive over the ice of the Bering Strait in winter 2009 / 2010 and to become the first team that surrounded the world only on wheels seems within reach. If this succeeded, it would be the absolutely first drive on and drive across the strait with wheel driven vehicles.

Since the required adjournment in April 2009 we work intensively on the continuation of the expedition. We had to discover that the constant deterioration of the global economical general conditions turned into a large problem for us. Due to additional budget cuts we cannot fight anymore against the financial burden of the necessary spare part procurement, the vehicle repairs, the logistic and the continuation costs.

However we want to proceed and we are doing anything to turn the vision of the historical Bering Strait crossing on wheels into reality. But we need the support of many people. Only, if we will jointly succeed to secure the missing budget, of 750.000 EURO (1 Mio US-$), excluding tax, within this difficult time by mid of August 2009 we will be able to finalize all substantial provisions and to proceed with the expedition.

With the initiative Partner15000 we would like to adjure and invite you to support this project, no matter whether on a large or small scale. Strengthen the expedition and become a part of the project. Benefit as an investment partner from the advantages.

The initiative Partner15000 will be the third main sponsor of the expedition "Paris / New York - Transcontinental". It is a campaign powered by Extrem Events to form a worldwide limited community of 15,000 members driven by enthusiasm and benevolence to financially support the project. Not only individuals but also companies, clubs or associations can become a member.


Because we are aware that solely the people of the Partner15000 will make it possible to continue,

* We will dedicate the homepage www.pny2009.com to all supporters;
* We will designate the names on the homepage;
* We will eternalize all names of those who support the expedition with 250 EURO onwards onto three exclusive bronze boards (prior to the continuation of the expedition, two of those 3x3m sized boards will be assembled on exposed locations in Paris / France and Egvekinot / Russia for 30 years. If we do reach New York, the third board will be assembled on an exposed location as well);
* To all supporters, irrespective of the donated sum, we will offer exclusive future Business-Event-Travels (BET) to selected destinations on this globe.
* Additionally we will invite partners who invest 10,000 EURO or more to a one week Business-Event-Travel to Russia, organised by Extrem Events on our own cost.


To achieve a quick worldwide spread of this information we would be happy if you could forward this information to all of your friends and company partners. You will find this text at our Download area in six different languages ? German, Russian, English, Spanish, French and Italian.

Again we would like to invite you to support the initiative Partner15000 and thank you in advance for your dedication.
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  #63  
Old 12-17-2009, 01:48 PM
BlueGerbil BlueGerbil is offline
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December 11, 2009

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It just happened, but it could have happened any other day as well: I wake up, it is 8 am. I am completely beat-up. Signs of illness. Since my arrival I have more or less worked 16-18 hours a day in the cold of the garage. I have been outside to get some fresh air 4-5 times at the most, then back inside, going to bed at 3 am and so on. I only have a little sense of time left, because it is dark again at 2 pm. Until then there's only dawn (the sun only comes out for 2-3 hours when there are no clouds in the sky. Also, I don't see daylight anyway due to the garage. As always I immediately check my mails; today almost just bad / very bad news. Then a telephone conversation with Juergen. A little improvement, because he had a good news and I had to laugh out of joy over the wheel spacers. :-)

I dress in warm clothes, go to the sink, wash my face and hair quickly with yellow water which comes from the pipes - hopefully it's only rust from the pipes. Then I go to the dining room. Luba, the cook, throws her hands up, shakes her head and starts a fierce communication about me and most likely with me. I understand that I must be looking very bad today. She means to me to sit down you do what she says). Then explanations are following about what has to be done in which case of illness, etc. I don't understand a word, I just read her signs). When she is done explaining and workig, there are two slices of bread in front of me which have some kind of 5-8 cm thick layer of salad on them. I perceived that she pressed some garlic in front of me and I have a sense of what my palate might get to taste soon. Because you do what she says, I eat the medicine.

It is as if you take a garlic clove the size of a really big poignant onion, take a bite, suck it dry and savour it. Due to the taste, slapstick, aches in my mouth and no idea how I will ever be able to finish these two gigantig pieces of bread, I have to laugh. Luba is happy. She thinks I like it. I'm bursting from inner laughter.
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  #64  
Old 12-17-2009, 01:50 PM
BlueGerbil BlueGerbil is offline
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December 15, 2009

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Cars are ? except for a couple of things that need to be done as soon as the team finally arrives on December 26 ? pretty much ready to go.

Started my trip home on December 15 via Anadyr, Moscow, Frankfurt. Just like the entire repair trip, it was very adventurous. There have been many hours of waiting, a broken airplane which had to be fixed quickly on the landing strip before dusk, a ride in a self-made swim-vehicle across the barely frozen bay of Anadyr, crowded airports because due to cyclones and blizzards no airplanes from Moscow were able to land for 1.5 weeks, many question marks due to delayed flights and new snowfall, a hara-kiri drive over ice, many changes of flight reservations, lost documents which were supposed to be kept by people at the airport, etc.

But one thing is always on the top rung: people in Russia are always trying to help, make, do. Very relaxed, very cooperative, very hospitable.

Will be in Germany for a couple of days to take care of those things that need to be taken care of. Then we will take off.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to everyone.
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  #65  
Old 12-29-2009, 01:25 PM
BlueGerbil BlueGerbil is offline
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December 29, 2009

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When angels travel?

? goes a famous saying. By no means we claim to be angels, but everything worked perfectly ? just unbelievable.

Wolfgang and Rudi from Munich and myself from Frankfurt to Moscow. Very very cooperative airport staff who helped us with all of our equipment and made exceptions.

Excellent Russian pilots who made sure that the airplane with many waiting passengers and us landed safely in Anadyr, despite very harsh winds. Thank you to Russian customs for supporting us once again exemplary with the necessary paperwork; Victor for finding us some special tickets from Tschukotavia; thanks to whoever opened this incredible weather-frame for us which made it possible to start the flight in the first place and arrive in Egvekinot with a great flight performance (yesterday there have been strong winds which made a landing in Egvekinot impossible) ? kudos to the organizers and pilots of Tschukotavia for making the last flight for this year possible despite all circumstances and luggage / cargo-; Alexander and Nicolai who took care of the preparations in Egvekinot and picked us up; thanks to Wolfgang, Rudi, Jefgeny Konstantinov and Victor (the new team) for already some relaxed hours ? it has just been a completely successful start and journey to Egvekinot ? the city in Russia where even the winter roads end.

Thanks to Russia and Tschukotka for this greeting.

We will take care of the left over work that has to be done on the vehicles until the beginning of January, then celebrate new year?s with our friends, make some last preparations and start reporting again in the new year.

All the best,

Matthias Jeschke
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  #66  
Old 12-29-2009, 01:40 PM
BlueGerbil BlueGerbil is offline
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December 29, 2009

Quote:
When angels travel?

? goes a famous saying. By no means we claim to be angels, but everything worked perfectly ? just unbelievable.

Wolfgang and Rudi from Munich and myself from Frankfurt to Moscow. Very very cooperative airport staff who helped us with all of our equipment and made exceptions.

Excellent Russian pilots who made sure that the airplane with many waiting passengers and us landed safely in Anadyr, despite very harsh winds. Thank you to Russian customs for supporting us once again exemplary with the necessary paperwork; Victor for finding us some special tickets from Tschukotavia; thanks to whoever opened this incredible weather-frame for us which made it possible to start the flight in the first place and arrive in Egvekinot with a great flight performance (yesterday there have been strong winds which made a landing in Egvekinot impossible) ? kudos to the organizers and pilots of Tschukotavia for making the last flight for this year possible despite all circumstances and luggage / cargo-; Alexander and Nicolai who took care of the preparations in Egvekinot and picked us up; thanks to Wolfgang, Rudi, Jefgeny Konstantinov and Victor (the new team) for already some relaxed hours ? it has just been a completely successful start and journey to Egvekinot ? the city in Russia where even the winter roads end.

Thanks to Russia and Tschukotka for this greeting.

We will take care of the left over work that has to be done on the vehicles until the beginning of January, then celebrate new year?s with our friends, make some last preparations and start reporting again in the new year.

All the best,

Matthias Jeschke
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  #67  
Old 01-06-2010, 12:15 PM
BlueGerbil BlueGerbil is offline
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December 29, 2009-January 03, 2010: We hit the road

At best weather which is supposed to last for another three days, at temperatures around -15?C and almost still air, we left Egvekinot, the city which welcomed us so nicely in all aspects and where we found many friends.

We just had some exhausting days.
At the day of our arrival (Dec. 29, 2009) we brought the vehicles from the ?cold storage area? to the garage and continued to work on the vehicles every day almost around the clock ? there has only been a break for our new year?s celebration ? in order to finish the last remaining repairs and the new twin-tire-system. It has been the first test for the new team ? passed with flying colors.

After leaving Egvekinot and crossing the bay on its straight path (thickness of the ice about 50cm), we are now on a headland which we are trying to pass since yesterday. Our goal is to reach the second bay at about N 66 12?024? / W 178 43?578? and cross this one as well- Yesterday we drove a total of 35 km.

We almost lost the F1 as I suddenly noticed a burnt smell. I stopped, thinking that something might be laying on my floor, which gets very hot at one special spot. But that wasn?t the case. Meanwhile Jefgeny left the vehicle on the passenger side to take a picture of the beautiful landscape, when he suddenly starts screaming: Fire, fire, fire! Flames were blazing underneath the car. Quickly we recognized that one of the engine covers was burning. Due to the fact that the cover was tied, we were not able to unfasten it quickly. Hectically Jefgeny and Victor threw snow under the vehicle while I tried to cut off the burning fabric.
Together with Wolfgang and Rudi, after a few minutes we extinguished the fire and removed the fabric. Only because we were very lucky, the overlap of the flames to the engine compartment could be avoided.
There has been almost no damage at the vehicle. We continued our journey after a big gulp of Vodka against the shock, thankful for the benevolence of the ?place?s spirit?.

Until late at night we fought our way through the snow-covered tundra, pulled and winched us forwards.

Currently we are at N 66 11?642? / W 178 46?473? ? everything is okay. We wait until the morning in order to cross the big bay at daylight. A difficult task.
Quote:
January 04, 2010: 61st short message (00:26 a.m. CET)

9 a.m. Took off after a cup of coffee and a bread. First difficult obstacle: a riverbed with lots of snow. After about one hour of shoveling successfully crossed. Are 1km away from the bay.

Wind gets stronger. First light snowfall. Met two Chukots from Konergina who are on their way to Egvekinot via Skidoo. Their sled dog sitting on the Skidoo. Nice picture.
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January 04, 2010: 62nd short message (01:38 a.m. CET)

12 p.m. Reached bay and managed entrance. F1 with both axles in the water. Pulled F1-trailer difficultly trough water-flooded tracks.

F2 made new tracks without any problems.
Following progress 2x through water-flooded tracks. Are currently 1km on bay-ice. Overall bay width 12km.
Quote:
January 04, 2010: 63rd short message (03:55 p.m. CET)

1.30p.m. Reached the middle of the bay.

2 p.m. Reached other bank. Exit easier than entrance. Only cracks but no water. Yippie yeah.

2.30 p.m. Raised the tire?s air pressure from 0.3/0.4 to 0.6. Are currently driving ? after getting over a small headland ? on ice along the shoreline. Air-line distance to Konergina about 60km. Speed about 3-10 km/h. Increasing snowfall; wind about 5 Bft.

Current position: N 66 07?785? / W 178 30?560?
Quote:
January 04, 2010: 64th short message (12:55 p.m. CET)

10.30 p.m. 6km away from Konergina track bar adapter on the front of F2 broke.
Steering virtually impossible. Made emergency repairs with straps and try to continue driving slowly. Tomorrow we have to weld.

Will spend the night 1.5km from Konergina and drive into the settlement tomorrow morning. A though piece of work until now. But the team is doing fine. Everything okay.

Current position: N 65 55?363? / W 178 48?886?
Quote:
January 05, 2010:

We woke up on a reindeer farm which served our vehicles as a place to stay for the night. Actually it?s more a place for the last hours of those beautiful animals, because here they are processed into food. At the crack of dawn, hundreds of antlers and others testified this. We detached the trailers and drove into the village. Right away crowds of people were gathering around us, children were running around and we were welcomed heartily. People from Konergina: Very very hospitable. A welder was organized. This was an opportunity for us to fill up the tanks from the barrels that we had with us. We received and ate raw reindeer meat and celebrated the New Year with a few drinks. After fixing the track bar adapter on F2, and welded and strengthened this same spot on F1, we bought an entire reindeer and got three fishes additionally as a gift. Then we resorted to the school house, in which we were invited to stay for the night. Because meanwhile it was evening again. This was also the time to say goodbye to Alexander and Victor, the Vestichot drivers (who supplied Konergina with all necessities during the winter). Especially for us they had postponed their departure from Egvekinot to Konergina in order to drive with us. Those were three great days with new friends who even shared the very tight passenger compartment of their Vestichot to eat with us.

Tomorrow, when the first beams of light appear, we will leave for the difficult track towards Enmelem. This way we will make use of the maximum period of daylight.

We would like to thank principal Alexander Volodko, the Chief of Administration Alexander Mylnikov and the Chief of Agriculturfarm Vladimir Alexeevich.
Quote:
January 05, 2010: 65th short message (11 p.m. CET)

At 8 a.m. we started with dream weather and -28?C.
Yesterday, after we bought a reindeer, cut it into smaller pieces and ate parts of it with the people in Konergina, now there are two Chukots accompanying us today. So now we have guests in our little convoy. They want to come along to Neran. There is a big reindeer meeting point.

Our current position after good progress: N 65 51?479? / W 178 26?860?
Quote:
January 06, 2010: 66th short message (04:27 a.m. CET)

It is 3 p.m. and the team gets on well. We did 60km in 7 hours. There is an icy wind with strong flurries at about -28?C and no snowfall. The team is doing great and everything is within the bounds.

The landscape is unbelievable!
Our huge spikes prove themselves again and again. Often we have to cross lakes and wide rivers which are frozen and as smooth as glass, so that you cannot walk on them. It would be great to get out the skates. But thanks to the spikes which are easy to mount, we pull the trailers and rank on the ice without any problems. Brilliant!
Quote:
January 06, 2010: 67th short message (06:32 a.m. CET)

5 p.m. Wind speed is 8 to 9 with strong flurries.

Our current position is N 65 39?871? / W 177 32?155?
Quote:
January 06, 2010: 68th short message (00:30 a.m. CET)

6 p.m. Stopped. F1 broke down. Cannot continue our journey without risking further damages. Servo pump (main fan-belt for all units runs over that) is threatened to overheat. Will build windbreak so that we can try a repair at wind speed 8 to 9.

7 p.m. Windbreak is done. Main pressure line of servo pump on swaging is damaged.

11 p.m. Built a 130 bar pressure line from battery brackets, pieces of fuel hose, clamps, wire straps, sawn off pieces of the old line and a big portion of team spirit along with imagination. Engine is running again. Are getting everything back in the vehicles and will leave again in about 30 minutes.
Freaking cold!
Quote:
January 06, 2010: 69th short message (01:35 p.m. CET)

0.30 a.m. Line didn't last. Team tired, but we try again. Nerve-wracking. Sh*tty material.
...
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  #68  
Old 01-06-2010, 12:58 PM
BlueGerbil BlueGerbil is offline
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Some current pictures...



















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  #69  
Old 01-08-2010, 04:51 AM
BlueGerbil BlueGerbil is offline
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...
Quote:
January 06, 2010: 70th short message (10:54 p.m. CET)

10 a.m. Very tough night. Tried emergency repair several times. Were able to start the engine again. Heater is working. Slept for five hours. We take off again.

Current position: N 65 39?540? / W 177 23?128?
Quote:
January 07, 2010: 71st short message (04:10 a.m. CET)

2 p.m. Arrived at a fishing hut at our current position N 65 35?309 / W 177 06?790?, made a fire, drank some warm tea. Pressure line lasted; not completely perfect, but it worked good. Vehicles are checked; will set off again in an hour and make use of the good weather (without any snowfall). Team spirit is great; we are all pulling together.

Will try to get further towards Enmelem (the next village in a distance of about 140km).
Quote:
January 07, 2010: 72nd short message (02:00 p.m. CET)

8 p.m. Difficult navigation. Partially, visibility less than 15 meters. Coped with three tough sections since leaving the fishing hut: crossed one scarp as well as two rivers with deep steps and strong drifts.
Quote:
January 07, 2010: 73rd short message (02:12 p.m. CET)

Very strong, icy winds. Continue to move forwards. Were able to cross two long land bridges in the gulf of Anadyr. Partially, 80 cm thick ice plates wildly thrown on shore. Also snow flurries and sometimes hardly any visibility. We are often only driving by looking at the GPS and move forwards meter after meter along scarps. Unbelievable how accurate this area has been mapped. We navigate up to 10-20 meters through complete wilderness, thanks to the Russian surveyors.
Quote:
January 07, 2010: 74th short message (03:08 p.m. CET)

Are standing at current position N 65 28'942" / W 176 76'613" - In front of us is a steep hillside shelving all the way down to the sea. We have to go down there but will wait for daylight to minimize the risk. Team is doing good, cars are working.
Quote:
January 08, 2010: 75th short message (01:01 a.m. CET)

12 p.m. Scarp is done. Afterwards we managed a difficult river crossing. F1 broke into Nalid Ice but got through it. Are standing on shoreline ice and drive further towards Enmelem.
Quote:
January 07, 2010: 76. Short message (06:16 a.m. CET)

Very difficult mission. Had to pass a long slant from the shoreline, which was deeply blown over. For 300 meters we had to shovel, winch, pull and detach the vehicles from the trailers. This took us 3,5 hours. Very very cold with stormy wind (8-9). Jefgeny has a light frostbite on his cheek, but he is okay. There will be no harm left behind.

We are driving again. Difficult kilomerters are ahead of us. Wind is still increasing, snowfall started.
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  #70  
Old 01-13-2010, 11:19 AM
BlueGerbil BlueGerbil is offline
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Quote:
January 08, 2010: 77th short message (11:52 a.m. CET)

It has been a crazy day. Into the bargain, we also got in a heavy blizzard. At no visibility, we fought our way from the shoreline through a delta near Neran.
Overall accomplishment for the day: 23km in 15 hours. What a number. We are now standing safely on a hill and wait for the end of the snow storm. Team and vehicles okay.

Current position: N 65 28?378? / W 175 58?037?
Quote:
January 08, 2010: 78th short message (10:26 p.m. CET)

9 a.m. Blizzard is over. 1,5 m snow drifts all around the cars. It?s amazing to see where we maneuvered last night without any visibility. The gods of nature to whom we sacrificed cigarettes and vodka in a traditional ceremony with our tschukot friends last night, were with us and protected us.

Last night also a nice act of friendship. Wow, a Tschukot, gave me his knife as a present. This is a very grand gesture. It?s a self-made knife made from the horn of reindeers. The blade is a self-forged saw blade; the shaft is made of reindeer leather and fur. In return, I gave him my knife as a thank you and felt honored.
Quote:
January 09, 2010: 79th short message (05:21 a.m. CET)

10 a.m. Our two tschukot friends have turned and drive back to Konergina. We just left the delta. We are trying to find our way to a Vestichot track towards Enmelem over a high plateau. Three lakes in front of us which have to be crossed. The ice of the first one is too thin. When I walked over it to test the ice, it already cracked. We have to find a way around the lake.

2 p.m. Pressure line broke again.

4 p.m. Fixed pressure line as good as possible. Will take off again in 30 min. In the meantime, Jefgeny scouted the way around the first lake.
Quote:
January 09, 2010: 80th short message (11:33 a.m. CET)

10:30 p.m. Found our way around the lake. Afterwards, difficult crossing of a river. Had to test the ice for a long time in order to find a good way to go. Both cars are tied together to secure them. Everything worked out well. We are about 40km away from Enmelem. Now we are diving across fields of heavy bumps. Due to the fact that we sway back and forth on the sea, we can only drive very slowly, which costs us a lot of nerves.

Current position: N 65 18?139? / W 175 48?489?
Everything okay.
Quote:
January 09, 2010: 81st short message (01:03 p.m. CET)

11:45 p.m. We are standing in front of a very broad delta with three main arms. Tried to cross. F1 broke into the ice. We were able to get back by our own power. Decided to stop for today and spend the night at N 65 16?891? / W 175 48?000?. We will try again tomorrow morning.

Everything alright.

Quote:
January 10, 2010: 82nd short message (01:05 a.m. CET)

12 p.m. Had a bad night. Nasty storm that made us fear that one of the trailers or a car would be blown over. That?s how strong the winds were. Decided to change places again and chose a safer one outside of the delta.
Then, this morning, there was beautiful weather with lots of sun. Regarding the weather, this is one of the most beautiful days of our journey. Then we found our way across the broad delta. Ice wasn?t frozen completely everywhere, but it lasted underneath the vehicles. Very good feeling. Right now we are still heading towards Enmelem. About 30km left.
Quote:
January 10, 2010: 83rd short message (03:06 a.m. CET)

2 p.m. We just finished our first refueling without having to be completely covered from head to toe, without headlights, without thick mittens and without frozen fingers. We have beautiful weather.
It would even be possible to climb on the trailers without having to secure ourselves. Usually that?s not possible because there?s always the danger of falling because of the strong winds.
Quote:
January 10, 2010: 84th short message (05:08 a.m. CET)

4 p.m. We just crossed the last broad delta before Enmelem!!!!!! We were expected. A delegate from Enmelem expected us at the side of the river that is oriented towards Enmelem. It was a hearty welcome. He said that everybody is happy to see us. We are the first ones who managed the crossing of the river ? which we failed to do last night but managed this morning ? this year!! Very awesome. A shot of vodka was obligatory.
Just one more pass and 10km, then we reach Enmelem. The team is very proud. So am I. A great team. Excellent team spirit and mutual respect and support. Great!
Quote:
January 10, 2010: 85th short message (05:37 a.m. CET)

We wouldn?t stand a chance without spikes. They helped us a lot so far ? amazing. Besides rivers and lakes, which can hardly be crossed by foot, the spikes once again proved their worth today. After the crossing of the last delta and before the pass, we just had to drive on an inclined and ice-covered track which has been carved into the hillside. Without spikes, no chance! This is how one jigsaw piece joins the others.

5 p.m. We arrived in Enmelem!!!
Quote:
January 12, 2010:

In the morning of the 11th, after being able to sleep outstretched in the school, we were surprised by about 60 children who wanted to see us. They even quickly organized a special concert and a dance show for us. Great. The principal, the teachers, the children, the administration, the border guard, the mechanics, the helpers, etc. Just a great village.
Once again I have to emphasize that, in my mind and regarding my experiences, there is no other country in the world which I have been to, where there exist as many thoughts of friendship, helpfulness and hospitality as in Russia. I will not get tired of praising and give others an understanding of this.

The rest of the day, the entire night until 4 a.m. and today, the 12th, we dedicated ourselves exclusively to the repair of the vehicles. Finally F1 works again with a special constructed ?Ural? (a Russian truck) servo line. The construction is about 4x bigger than the original and we need a higher engine revolution to steer, but this was the only chance we had, after this thing blew up several times for various reasons. Everything that we tried without welding equipment failed or just lasted for a short period of time. Now, after Alexey, the super welder, welded the Jeep for hours to the size of an Ural with painstaking attention to detail, hopefully it works. A feat, considering the 1 mm thick walls of the Jeep lines.

Tonight we will rest and start again tomorrow morning towards Providenia. Difficult river stages are awaiting us.






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  #71  
Old 01-17-2010, 01:13 AM
BlueGerbil BlueGerbil is offline
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Quote:
January 12, 2010: 86th short message (10:16 p.m. CET)

9 a.m. We took off. We are accompanied by two Skidoo drivers from Providenia, our friends Vladimir and Konstantin and a driver from Enmelem, who joined us (together with two others who sit on his sleigh ? I believe they do this in order to minimize the risk of driving alone to Nulingran ? our next goal). There is also our welder on his Russian motor vehicle (he wants to make sure that his welding lasts and also wants to see how far he gets).

Some information on the side: For the last decade, we were the first who reached Enmelem with wheeled vehicles, coming from Konergina.
Quote:
January 13, 2010: 87th short message (02:11 a.m. CET)

1 p.m. We are fighting our way through a delta. We already managed 30 km. Again and again we have to winch, detach the trailer from the vehicles, cross small/medium/big river arms. Sometimes we break into the ice, but only for about 30 cm.

5 p.m. Managed difficult snow pass. Right now we are at the next river. Another 20 km to Nuligran.

6:45 p.m. Arrived in Nuligran. Team is in good shape.

Current Position: N 64 48?259? / W 175 22?537?
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January 13, 2010: 88th short message (09:51 p.m. CET)

8:30 a.m. We took off. There are 220 km of nothing ahead of us on our way to Providenia ? including one of the most difficult tracks through the mountains with difficult passes, etc. Let?s hope that we can do it. A couple of days ago, a Vestichot sunk in the lake which we should reach by tomorrow. Now the ice is supposed to be strong enough. There is no other path anyway, so we have to try it.
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January 14, 2010: 89th short message (03:16 a.m. CET)

1 p.m. We reached a fisher camp at N 64 48?254? / W 174 53?804? We made a fire for an hour, warmed up, drank some tea and coffee. Just started again at 2 p.m. Very difficult track ? called Bermuda ? ahead of us. First, we have o drive 13 km over a sea, then a difficult delta and then mountains. We are trying to arrive at a camp which is 70 kilometers away.

By the way: A wonder-, wonderful landscape with unbelievable ice-formations here ? amazing!
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January 14, 2010: 90th short message (05:20 a.m. CET)

4:30 p.m. Current position is N 64 46?783? / W 174 30?395?. Steering bars on F2 broke. No steering possible. The entire block that has been welded in Konergina, fell off. We are trying to fix it with belts. Team is alright.
Quote:
January 14, 2010: 91st short message (07:59 a.m. CET)

6:30 p.m. Finished repair attempts. Three belts should keep together on F2 ? which is manned by Wolfgang and Rudi, and thus completely northern Bavarian ? what usually welds do. F1 is manned by Jefgeny, Viktor, Matthias at the moment. Great team work at -30?C and wind. Let?s see how far we can go with this. The next welding equipment is 140 km away. But, at least nature is nice to us. Right now, there is no snowfall. A couple of clouds, which gave the impression of an upcoming blizzard, have disappeared as well. Best weather ? Thank God!
Quote:
January 14, 2010:

8 p.m. Right now we are in the Bermuda area. Pre mysticism / stories that are written by the expedition.

Lead text:
Durng the crossing of the lake, there has been a crackling intense tension. Everybody was nervous and wanted to know if the ice was going to last ? and especially since we had to drive in the middle of the lake, instead of on the side, due to too thin ice. The ice on the sides was not thick enough because of currents by feeder rivers. Furthermore, the ice wasn?t 1 meter thick as we all hoped, but only 30-40 cm and littered with big cracks. Suddenly there was no more steering support on F1. We thought that a line broke again. But it was the v-belt that was torn to pieces. I have no idea why. As quickly as possible we tried to assemble a new v-belt and belt pulley. This ? on ice and in icy wind ? was not easy and a big challenge. You need five people for this: one holds on to the hood so that it won?t fall down, one hold on to the insulating mat for the engine and the flashlight, one has the tools and spare parts, two remove the remains, hold the clamp and apply the belt.

~~~
Leap in time:
It is around 7 p.m. when we drive into the dreaded ?Bermuda? area.
It is called like that due to difficult navigation and unexplainable events that have happened here in the past.

We continue slowly towards a narrow pass. We navigate only by computer and GPS; carefully we move along the hillsides - which we can?t see anyway because of the darkness - via coordinates and lines on a map that describe us the nature. Even our strong headlights allow us no more than an impression of the landscape few meters ahead of us. Driving around and finding our way by ligh is not possible because of the weather and trailers. The rising valley continues to get narrower until it is only 50-60 m wide. Then there is a wall of snow in front of us. To our left and to our right steep rock faces. There is only one chance: Going left and trying to use a hillside to get around the wall of snow. Regarding that F2 is handicapped because of its steering, we drive ahead in F1. The hillside gets steeper. The rock faces seem threatening. Wind shakes the vehicle. Then a whistling, a scraping from the engine compartment. Immediately I shut off the engine. We are in the midst of the inclination. We leave the car, open the hood: the v-belt is no longer on the belt pulley. It is damaged. Viktor starts to scream at the bad spirits in Russian, argues with them. He starts a shaman?s dance to fight them and get them away from the cars. At the same time, Jefgeny and I are trying to apply the v-belt. Actually eight hands would be needed for that, but F2 is far behind us.
Viktor shouts, screams, fights with gestures and noise against the invisible of the night.
~~~

The engine is working again ? we go back in the vehicle and continue our journey. We make it, manage to get out of this undefined, threatening situation and to the top of the hill. F2 is following. Then, a couple hundred meters later: a scarp that has deep snow areas at its bottom. With lots of awareness and maneuvering, we get up to ten meters to the upper edge. At the steepest position, the v-belt falls off once again. Viktor is screaming again, fights. Jefgeny is sitting in the car and uses the brake. The hillside is so steep that there is no other possibility to secure F1. I curse, quarrel and apply the v-belt ? which is now only 1 cm wide ? again with lots of anger in my stomach. I am thinking: ?It?s enough now? while maneuvering F1 against wind, spirits, snow and steepness onto the plateau. Done. F2 follows without problems.

10 p.m. Just finished difficult pass and are at position N 64 44?469? / W 274 23?357?.
Team is doing well.

We are in the middle of ?Bermuda? and fight.
Quote:
January 15, 2010: 92nd short message (00:00 a.m. CET)

8 a.m. Are driving again.

9 a.m. Reached broad delta. There is a huge deep snow area in front of us with the dimensions of at probably 1 by 2 kilometers. We will try to drive around it. When we left the fisher camp at around 2 p.m yesterday, our two Skidoo drivers stayed behind. They wanted to try and catch up to us today during daylight.
Currently the three belts on F2 maintain the steering and the v-belt on F1 lasts. In case that there is anybody who wonders why we don?t change the v-belt: Altogether we have six spare belts. One is already in use; we want/have to make maximum use of all material.

10 a.m. We drove successfully around the snow area and also crossed a river. Are staying on course.
Quote:
January 15, 2010: 93rd short message (03:35 a.m. CET)

1:30 p.m. We arrived at a fisher base 70 km away from Providenia. Current position is N 64 39?047? / W 174 02?183?.

Are driving at most with 2000 rotations per minute in all gear reductions, to ensure that the 1 cm v-belt will remain functioning as long as possible. We want to do the real repair no earlier than Providenia ? if possible. There will be another 2-3 days of good weather ? we have to make it.
Quote:
January 16, 2010: 94th short message (00:15 a.m. CET)

Are currently at N 64 35?866? / W 173 37?777?.

The team is alright but very tired. We are fighting to move forward step after step. Technical problems hinder our progressing significantly. At the moment we are 32 km away from Providenia.
We have to get over a difficult pass.
Without Spikes, no chance to get to get this far.
Without Webasto it would be even harder, because F1 currently doesn?t have any other heater.
Withour the sleeping bags from Mammut it wouldn?t be bearable.
Without the team?s mental strength, no chance.

We will report again.

Quote:
January 16, 2010: 95th short message (08:37 a.m. CET)

Bermuda!!!

We are located somewhere between steep hills on a river. Meters of snow. No end of technical challenges. No time to relax. Hardly any sleep. It cannot get any harder. 600 meters in 24 hours: In the cold, we spent 5 hours rasping and remodeling the servo pump bearing of F1.
Mental strength of the team is at its highest level. Right now ? after six hours of recovering the two trailers and a vehicle ? we are trying to drive onto the ridge. There is no possibility to accomplish the canyon, which is covered in 4-5 meters of snow, before the pass. We tried everything today. Ridge is virtually our way around it. But it is very difficult to get to the top ? very steep. We try our best. In my mind it cannot get any harder.

I will report let you know about what happened to the team since leaving the fisher camp, about what we had to go through and about any details, some other time. Right now there is no possibility to write more due to the circumstances that affect us/me.



























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  #72  
Old 01-23-2010, 03:04 AM
BlueGerbil BlueGerbil is offline
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Quote:
january 17, 2010: 96th short message (05:32 a.m. Cet)

5 p.m. Are still more or less at the same spot like yesterday. The distance to the pass is still around 5 km, but now we are on the ridge.
Last night it took us eight hours to winch the two cars and trailers up the hill. This morning i took two small-shot cartridges and constructed a new bearing for the servo pump, because it broke again. Yesterday six people from providenia ? were the people are waiting for our arrival ? came to visit us and to see how we are doing. We were sincerely greeted by the leader of the administration, the leader of border control of the russian troops, representatives of mcs and others.
Unbelievable, really. I will write more in the main report. Team spirit great. Team is feeling good.
.

Quote:
january 17, 2010: 97th short message (09:42 p.m. Cet)

today, we accomplished 2.1 km. It was very tough work. We had to look for paths and get through snow fields for what seemed like forever. But driving around worked out. F1 is still running without any problems. The team is okay.

Quote:
january 18, 2010: 98th short message (08:06 a.m. Cet)

today, we accomplished 1.6 km. The pass is now 1.9 km away. Endless powder snow. We winch and shovel ? toughest strains for each and everyone. Cold, endeavor, shortness of sleep, but everyone does their utmost. Just great this team. No controversy, nothing. I am very enthusiastic about each and everyone. Just like settlers at that time ? bit by bit in an unknown country.
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january 18, 2010: 99th short message (12:49 p.m. Cet)

are literally walking on our last legs. This godawful pass.
It?s enough. Gosh. A little while ago, i was so angry. Oh well, after that, the snow had a realization. It froze a little more and we could move 800 m in two hours. Now we are standing on a hillside ? on a little plateau ? about 1.2 km away from the pass, with both vehicles and trailers. Tonight we will try to make a track with f1 and use sticks, that i placed today during the daylight, as orientation (if we can find them at night ). The snow here makes you go crazy. The surface is hard as concrete, but underneath is nothing but powder. If the surface breaks, the wheel breaks in and then there is no more traction. This form of snow is very different from the snow e.g. In jakutsk. There, we didn?t reach the passes easily, but we did get to cross them. Here, everybody has their hands full of weals from shoveling and everybody has enough from the ?pass?.
Quote:
january 19, 2010: 100th short message (00:16 a.m. Cet)

have to get out of here. Yesterday we received a bad weather report ? on january 21/22, there is expected to be a storm with snow, snow drifts and wind speed 9-10 as well as hurricane blasts. We only have two days left. We have to make it. We worked the whole night, shoveled like crazy and winched. We accomplished another 200 meters along the steep hillside ? we mastered an absolute challenge. Another 1.7 km to the pass.
..

Quote:
january 19, 2010: 101st short message (05:04 a.m. Cet)

800 m before the pass, after what seemed like endless days, nights and efforts: Problems with the axles on f1 and f2. Right now we are organizing support and a rescue vehicle. Team is great. Have to retain our composure. We gave everything, really everything until now. Retain composure / retain composure ? it is very difficult.
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  #73  
Old 01-25-2010, 01:32 PM
BlueGerbil BlueGerbil is offline
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  #74  
Old 02-02-2010, 06:45 AM
BlueGerbil BlueGerbil is offline
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January 20, 2010: 102nd short message (11:05 am CET)

Spent the night and today well. The weather is still stable. Today or tomorrow, we will winch and pull ourselves over the pass with our Russian helpers and then try to drive over the ice of the Providenia Bay to Providenia. If the ice shouldn?t bear our weight, we would have to driver over a second pass to get around the bay. In Providenia we will be able to properly diagnose the damages and make repairs. F2 could be repaired at short notice. F1 will be more difficult, it might take a couple days longer. We will try to get back on the road as fast as possible. Right now we expect to remain in Providenia for about two weeks.
If anybody wants to come and join the team is welcomed. Juergen Graf, Astrid Wallner and Jan Liska can give further information.
Quote:
January 20, 2010: 103rd short message (03:22 p.m. CET)

3 a.m. After a difficult final stage, we arrived in Providenia.
The brake pipe on F2 fell off, there has been a tire failure on F2, the trailer of F1 has a deformed axle, we broke into Nalid Ice. All team members are exhausted but doing well ? apart from dark shadows under the eyes, beards, black hands, body odor, wet shoes, cracked fingers, chipped fingernails and so on.

We will get in touch again.
Quote:
January 21, 2010: 104th short message (03:34 a.m. CET)

We are still on the street in Providenia. We are talking, negotiating, looking for a parking space for the trailers and a place to repair the vehicles. Many people have come outside. They welcomed us, considered how they could help us, signed the cars, gave us coffee, tea and a place in the office of a small garage. After a long time, we ate some fresh bread instead of frozen cross. A part of the team slept in a Russian tracked vehicle ? finally sprawled out again as I heard ? for a couple of hours.
I believe we will find solutions within the next hours, eventually days. Just now we have been offered a Russian sauna to heat up and clean up again.
We?ll see. Definitely very friendly here. A couple minutes ago I received the news that we at least found two places for the trailers.
Quote:
January 21, 2010: 105th short message (09:43 a.m. CET)

Trailers are safely stored inside / in front of a hall. On the part of the very friendly mayors, we found an accommodation that we can use for the entire duration of our stay. It is empty but warm, has a bathroom with shower and carpeted floors. They just brought us a small table. We sleep on the floor in or on our sleeping bags and are very happy about this place to live. The vehicles are still on the street. Tomorrow they will decide where we go for our repairs.
?Warm boxes? in which there are at least 0?C, are seldom. And if they exist, they are most of the time already taken. We will see. First of all we will make some food and enjoy a Russian beer. We deserve it.

Providenia is located right next to a bay. In front and behind the city mountains rise as if they were painted. If you stay at the bay, look towards the sea and the sun goes down blood-red like today, a painter couldn?t capture it any more beautiful. And temperatures around -10?C make you forget how hard life must be for the people living here. Forces of nature can be pretty tough. The hurricane that is expected to come, will show prove this to us quite plainly.
Quote:
January 22, 2010: 106th short message (11:50 a.m. CET)

This morning we were shown once again how welcomed we are here, how hospitable the people in Tschuotka are. We received a call from the mayor, that a ?warm box? has been found on the part of the first minister. We were asked to come to the technical school, where we received more information. Right away we left for the school. There, we were welcomed by the principal. He explained to us that they were willing to help and that they wanted to rearrange a box for us, so that our cars could stay there as long as we needed for our repairs. The box also has an undercut and a hoisting crane! In our situation this felt like Christmas. Grateful, we brought the vehicles from their place on the street of the outskirts to the box in the city. Afterwards a meeting with the highest ranking representatives of the regional government and city administration took place. In the main building we had some interesting conversations as well as coffee and tea. We discussed the further proceedings. During our conversation we were offered again all necessary support. In return we offered to be available for lectures, discussions, conversations, cultural exchange for the kindergarden, the school, the technical school and anyone who is interested for as long as we are here. Honestly, where can you find that in our culture? Go to the outskirts of any city in the world and ask for accommodation for your team, a parking space for big trailers and a work place to repair two vehicles. This is a geniality and friendship of the Russian population.

I think that Tschukotka offers a great variety of regional distinctions and could make a difference in the area of tourism. There are bizarre images of nature, silence, and amazing beauty of the tundra that every traveler can see. Seldom have I seen a clearer sky, more stars, wilder valleys, have I experiences the calmness better than here. I wish that more people would make the move and get to know this wonderful area of the world. I can only recommend this to everybody ? he/she will be thrilled!

While I am writing these lines, the storm starts to exert its forces. The wind becomes stronger, snow started falling and flurries are blowing through the streets.
Quote:
January 29, 2010: 107th short message (01:12 a.m. CET)

We?ve got our hands full and try desperately to find a solution for the transport of the damaged axle parts. Please excuse that I didn?t write that much.
Whoever wants to help us and has according contacts or wants to write, could talk to the Alaska Eskimo Whaling Commission.

Alaska Eskimo Whaling Commission
PO Box 570
Barrow, AK 99723-0570
Phone 907-852-2392
Fax 907-852-2303

On behalf of this commission, there will be a flight from Nome, Alaska to Providenia, Russia on February 08, 2010. If our parts cannot be on this flight, they will arrive no earlier than the end of February and our chance to reach the Bering Strait in time will diminish.
Unfortunately the commission categorically refuses to take our two travel bags with the spare parts along on the almost empty flight. We don?t know the reasons. All other involved parties are willing to make it possible. But the final decision has the Alaska Eskimo Whaling Commission.
Quote:
February 30, 2010: 108th short message (03:09 a.m. CET)

By now, a lot of different parties are asking the Alaska Eskimo Whaling Commission to take our two travel bags along on their empty (!!!!) flight from Nome to Providenia ? of course we will pay for it. They categorically refuse. We don?t know why. We never did anything bad against the people or the commission. Nobody understands this stance. They suggested to us that we pay the entire flight and then we can send our two bags along.
This would have never happened in Russia, never, never. If anybody needs help, you help them. And we are by no means cadgers who ask for help for free. We only ask for an approval to put our two bags against payment on this empty flight. Unbelievable, really unbelievable.
Quote:
February 01, 2010: 109th short message (11:23 a.m. CET)

Great, our friend Dimitri sent his acquaintance ?Oleg? to our apartment today. He?s a man with best connections in satellite lines. :-)
Via TV he made us an internet connection at its best and now we can ? finally with a prospect of success ? try to send a couple of pictures. We are trying to do so for a couple of days now but the satellite system in F1 doesn?t work as long as it is in the shielded hall. On our agenda for today was also the official visit in the kindergarden and a heartily welcome.
Meanwhile works Jefgeny with our friend Valerie, the welder, on the reconstruction of the steering parts. They also weld a big part of the special constructions on F2.
Due to the better internet connection we got a bunch of photos from the expedition team - check all of (200+) out at:

Part 1: http://bit.ly/bpGskP
Part 2: http://bit.ly/9DlAkK

Some of them for you to enjoy:















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  #75  
Old 02-07-2010, 06:21 AM
BlueGerbil BlueGerbil is offline
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New photos of the expedition are online: http://bit.ly/aw90cD

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February 04, 2010: 110th short message (02:26 p.m. CET)

The past two days cost me a lot of nerves (are there any left in the first place?). A tough pass with snow is easy compared to the last days. Oh well. At the moment we don?t make any progress with the flight, also regress with one of our suppliers in a way that my head explodes. I have to get angry about so many things that I think hellhounds are marching.

The good news: the team is great and sticks together even though the days of waiting aren?t easy. There?s discipline, we brace ourselves, we won?t let things slide. Every day we repair another piece. Rudi was already jokingly talking about training in auto mechanics as his continuation education. I believe he will open a garage when he?s back. Today we started with the first trailer. Right after the pass, when we broke into really deep Nalid Ice with F2 and its trailer, the trailer?s front axle broke. Therefore we decided to modify the trailers so that they are operated by one axle only. We also shorten them to their minimum and try to reduce the weight as much as possible. For stabilization we mount a pivoting ski onto the drawbar. At least that?s the plan ? let?s see how it will turn out.



[/quote]
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  #76  
Old 02-09-2010, 11:55 AM
BlueGerbil BlueGerbil is offline
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February 07, 2010: 111th short message (02:27 a.m. CET)

Today, a story about Victor which he allowed me to tell. As a former helicopter pilot, Victor knows many people in Tschukotka and just as many know him. He often gets recognized; even when his last flight to that place was ten or more years ago. People who live in the small villages don?t need time. They have plenty of it. Victor once asked a tschukot man who hailed him: ?Do you even know when we saw each other the last time?? The man answered: ?Well, a couple of winters ago.? But it has been 14 years.

There?s also a nice story about Victors tooth. He either didn?t have enough time or enough money, so he made a tooth from fossilized mammoth bone. Of course this has to be renewed as well, therefore he occasionally rasps at mammoth pieces that he always carries with him. Surely he is the only man who has a 10.000 or more year old tooth. By now it is also a lucky charm, he says. We definitely laughed a lot about his jokes concerning this issue. Victor is a very funny man in general. Sometimes he looks like Sean Connery, sometimes like a very strict officer and sometimes like a clown. A strong, versatile mimic, combined with his charming humor, his guitar playing and his singing, he made us laugh many times. Due to his speaking ability, I think he should become a radio reporter or due to his certainly strong acting talents, become a TV actor. Maybe a producer will read this.

Quote:
February 07, 2010: 112th short message (02:40 am CET)

On Friday we were invited to visit Providenia?s court. We learned a little bit about the Russian law and saw what a court room looks like. Afterwards we had a very interesting conversation with the judges which proved the trust in us once again. Yesterday we had our last ? appointed with the administration ? official visit of a school. It was the school of sports. It is located in the ski base. More than 50 children have been there; it was lots of fun. As always, we brought chocolates (altogether we gave out hundreds of chocolates to the children of Tschukotka. The little store where we always buy them, e.g. in Providenia, has high season for chocolates.) and did our little questions/ answers game.

By the way, here in Providenia is Russia?s easternmost ski slope and the second westernmost slope of the world. How can that be?
The easternmost part of Russia is in the westernmost part of the world and the westernmost part of the world is in the easternmost part of Russia.

Explanation: The 180th longitude is right between Belibino and Egvekinot. About 40 km before Egvekinot. Therefore, every part of Russia that?s north from there, is in the West of the world. That means that the westernmost part of the world is in easternmost Russia. Hence, Egvekinot is one of the westernmost settlements, has the westernmost ski slope of the world (Providenia has the second westernmost ski slope), Providenia only has the easternmost ski slope of Russia (after Providenia there is nothing else).

Today we have been invited to try the slope by ourselves. It?s an adventure and at the same time it is remarkable how joy is given to someone. Of course everything is a little bit more basic but ingenious in its function. It was like a holiday for the team. The following dinner with Ludmilla and her daughter topped two good days off.
Quote:
February 08, 2010: 113th short message (12:41 p.m. CET)

Concerning the delivery of the spare parts I have decided that I will not ask the people from AEWC for help any longer. We found another possibility to bring the parts to Providenia. I hope that they will arrive on Thursday, even though we are expecting bad weather with a storm and lots of snow. Let?s see how this will turn out. Anyway, everything is ready in Nome.

We now know something very interesting:
We were told that we are the first expedition ever that came to Providenia from Europe with wheeled vehicles. And Rudi and I are the first Germans that went skiing here on Russia?s easternmost ski slope. Not bad




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  #77  
Old 02-15-2010, 02:22 PM
BlueGerbil BlueGerbil is offline
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Quote:
february 14, 2010:

thursday has been a great day. So far we kept ourselves afloat with lots of discipline and ?hang-in-slogans?, but on thursday afternoon we finally received good news.

First we received an official invitation for a conversation by the leader of the regional government ?providenia region?. During the meeting which lasted almost one hour, we received a special book about chukotka as a thank you for our school visits and speeches. The entire team felt much honored about this special gesture. In return we thanked everybody for their trust. For us, all the visits have been a great pleasure. Afterwards, when i received good news from the capital moscow, and rudi exclaimed a crow because he found strawberry ice in a store, the sun arose again on the night sky. When i also found tea-cakes ? my absolute favorites ? (the first ones since mid-december), it was as if fireworks started. Alright, alright, i know i am exaggerating. But if you try to put yourself in our position, you understand how great this was for us.

Then it was friday ? it was a wonderful morning at around 8 a.m., sunlight was shining through scattered clouds that were floating across the sky, there was a light wind, it is cold, the mountains were glowing in the light of the rising sun, the bay was calm and frozen, it was a feeling of peace, everything is blue/light blue/white. It was the best weather for pictures and for an airplane to start. Yes, finally our spare parts can arrive today!!!
I walk fleet-footedly and elated to my blackberry, awaited the flight information, open the e-mail from bering air and: Arrrrrrrggggggggggggghhhhhhhhhhhh!
They cannot come because the landing strip in providenia cannot be cleared from the last two days? of snow of the blizzard. They say that the next possibility will be monday if not another snow storm comes first. Phuuuh. Breathe, breathe.
So we spent the friday with dinner preparations, cooked for our guests, continued the work on our cars. In the evening we had a very successful dinner with our guests and had ?one for the road? in the only bar of the village. Saturday we worked and worked and worked (on the cars of course). Then we went to the banja with our friends as every saturday. Sunday we worked and worked and worked. Then i received a call. The mayor of the city invites us to visit the newly-opened public sauna. We are very happy, also because he picks us up personally and because he prepared everything for our arrival. It is a successful visit. Where else but here takes anybody as much care for their guests as here? We were welcomed by about 30 men in the banja. During this visit, rudi receives his ?slap baptism?* and wiping each other off in the snow afterwards is also bearable.

*they call it a russian massage: After three, four minutes in the ?oven? and about ten douses, you lay down on the upper level of the banja. Twigs are bound into a bunch. Then you sweep, waggle, press and hit them over your whole body. Some do it themselves, some let themselves be ?hit? by others. Most of the time it is done with the side where the leaves are; sometimes with the sticks. It?s nice once you got used to it; but it hurts if you are struggling on the inside. It is hot, almost so that you pass out, when you gasp for breath; it is bearable if you try breathing normally. It renews if you like to do some good to your body in the cold; it is tiring if you don?t. Therefore ?very good?.

Because nobody is really any closer to the future as we are (we are kind of in the future), we can tell the americans what is expecting them tomorrow, the world behind us expects the day that we already lived and are looking into the promising soon, i hope, that the americans will fly tomorrow, on sunday, so that we will have received our parts today on monday.
.
Quote:
february 14, 2010: 115th short message (10:11 p.m. Cet)

bering air just let us know that they will not come. They have to do other flights first. Great. Our flight has been delayed since last wednesday. I intervened. Let?s see if the bering air management comes around.
.........
Quote:
february 15, 2010: 116th short message (11:44 a.m. Cet)

definitely no flights today. Bering air declined ? and again we hope that it will work tomorrow. I think this is generally the main problem for this special part of the world. Any kind of transport either depends on weather, extremely complex, is life-threatening or spectacular. Right now our plan is to start driving on friday, latest saturday. Continued our repairs and preparations today.
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  #78  
Old 02-17-2010, 10:55 AM
BlueGerbil BlueGerbil is offline
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Quote:
February 16, 2010: 117th short message (00:13 a.m. CET)

It?s hard to believe. Just now we received the news that the airplane with our spare parts left Nome and that it will be here in about an hour. Victor is on its way to the airport. He will take care of everything. Jefgeny will help him. Rudi and I continue our work here.
............
Quote:
February 16, 2010: 118th short message (05:20 a.m. CET)

The airplane landed!!! Phuuuuu.

Right now everything gets checked, then it has to be sent through customs and then they will bring it here.
I?m curious to see if we can fix the cars with these parts.
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  #79  
Old 02-20-2010, 06:42 AM
BlueGerbil BlueGerbil is offline
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Posts: 89
..........
Quote:
February 18, 2010: 119th short message (12:53 p.m. CET)

We are working on the vehicles at full blast. Could it be any different? Right now our plan is to leave again on Saturday or Sunday. First we want to reach Novoe Chaplino and then ? after a short stop ? go about the longest ice test on sea ice (about 60 km along the coast) aiming towards Janrakinnot.

For this purpose we will pull the trailers, which are now modified to be single axle operating, on 25-meter-ropes behind the vehicles to avoid too much pressure on the ice and thus a break in.

Wild stories are being told about this overall 80km long section (sunken vehicles, Nalid Ice wherever you look, etc.).
Special perils of this section are the water fields. They form on special areas on top of the ice and are covered by snow. The wind and temperature conditions cause the surface of the snow to freeze (whilst keeping its snowy appearance). The snow and water underneath do not freeze though. A very malicious, visually plain surface forms which breaks when you drive over it. We hope not to get caught in such a trap.
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  #80  
Old 02-27-2010, 03:13 AM
BlueGerbil BlueGerbil is offline
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Posts: 89
Quote:
February 22, 2010:

The repairs take a lot longer than what we had originally planned. Again and again the tools are a perfidy. Instead of using special tools, we have to find new ideas over and over again to replace the missing special tools. But these ideas need to be thought trough first and implemented. Improvising takes a lot of time. But generally we progress. There are only few more tasks left, amongst others the rear axle of F1.
Hopefully we will be able to make a test drive tomorrow. Then we would leave early Wednesday morning.

Here a rough list of the tasks that we have done/are doing for whoever might be interested in what we had to repair, produce, newly invent and modify:


F1 with trailer1:

- Main plug electric bar fixed and sealed
- Axle-box clearance adjusted in the front (left and right) and in the back (left and right) and free-wheeling hub fixed in the front
(left) with the lid of a can
- Mounted lever shears onto the vehicles
- Stabi bearing fastened in the front (left and right)
- Steering gear mounting and track bar counter bearing constructed and welded in/frame retainer aligned and welded
- Welded broken frame in the front (left and right)
- Retightened and affixed all screws
- Remodeled twin-tire system and changed over to rim operation
- Welded exhaust bracket
- Affixed exhaust pipe left and right
- Servo pump and servo pipes affixed
- V-belt, hose clamp and pulley renewed
- Power supply and antenna cable for emergency radio units fixed
- Track bar bearing renewed
- Oil pan enforced because axles banged against it
- Welded reinforcement to back upper steering link (left and right) and built new rubber bearings from isolators
- Repaired back axle/renewed differential
- Aligned 2 twin-tire cages
- Renewed 3 Beadlocks
- Renewed 2 tire-valves
- Adjusted size of swimming tires
- Front upper axle bearing abraded and reduced
- Batteries charged

- Completely unloaded and loaded trailer, remodeled to one-axle operation, dislocated pontoons and brackets, welded frame,
reconstructed and exchanged tongue


F2 with trailer2:

- Aligned track bar bearing and radius rod bearing and spring stop bearing in the back (right)
- Demolished brake pipe in the front renewed (right)
- Half of right front axle renewed
- Axle-box clearance adjusted in the front (left and right) and in the back (left and right)
- Mounted lever shears onto the vehicles
- Stabi bearing fastened in the front (left and right)
- Steering gear mounting and track bar counter bearing constructed and welded in/frame retainer aligned and welded
- Front lower spring seats aligned and welded
- Welded broken frame in the front (left and right)
- Retightened and affixed all screws
- Remodeled twin-tire system and changed over to rim operation
- Affixed exhaust pipe left and right
- Servo pump and servo pipes affixed
- V-belt, hose clamp and pulley renewed
- Track bar bearing renewed
- Oil pan enforced because axles banged against it
- Welded reinforcement to back upper steering link (left and right) and built new rubber bearings from isolators
- Aligned 1 twin-tire cage
- Renewed 1 Beadlock
- Renewed 3 tire-valves
- Adjusted size of swimming tires
- Front upper axle bearing abraded and reduced
- Batteries charged

- Completely unloaded and loaded trailer, remodeled to one-axle operation, dislocated pontoons and brackets, welded frame,
reconstructed and exchanged tongue

In between we propped the cars several times up above the pit with air-hook-rope-bridge-hanging-techniques and reckless constructions after we sewed about 30 pieces of wood from a thick bar with a hand saw.

..........
Quote:
February 22, 2010: 120th short message (11:39 a.m. CET)

Both test drives were successful!!!
Test with trailers were successful as well!!!

Now we start loading the vehicles.

This will be a long night again. Tomorrow we will fill up the tanks, clean up the apartment, go grocery shopping, load the last few things, have final meetings with people from public live and helpers, then sleep.
If the weather remains okay, we will start again early Wednesday morning.
Unfortunately a large crack has already formed at the entrance to the 60 km long bay. The crack is filled with water. Furthermore there is a lot of snow expected as we heard today.
Let?s see.
Quote:
February 24, 2010: 121st short message (09:03 a.m. CET)

We just finished with the cars and trailers. Unexpectedly and severely we have to pass another, very difficult test at the moment. The team is struggling. Tomorrow will bring a decision, I believe. Difficult times.

Quote:
February 25, 2010: 122. short message (12:53 p.m. CET)

The test is over. The team has struggled, it has struggled very hard. A crack in the relationship between two people could ? despite all friendship that connected and still connects our team ? not be fixed. After such a long time of struggling, holding on, waiting and working hard, ther will now be a change in team members. Jefgeny Konstantinov will go back to Moscow, Konstantin Savva will join the team again. What exactly happened will remain within the team, but Jefgeny had a hard time making this decision. He was struggling for a long time. At the end though, there was only the flight back.

My good friend, I thank you for the time we spent together, for the great navigation you did even during complete blind flights, your calmness, you reliability, the partnerschip. Jefgeny, you were a great partner. I regret that you cannot continue with us.

The team will leave tomorrow morning.
Quote:
February 26, 2010: 123rd short message (05:43 a.m. CET)

12 p.m. After saying goodbye to the administration, to many many people and friends, we left.

1 p.m. Another damage on the axle on the F2 trailer. It took us 4 hours. Are ready to start again. The wheel bearing including drum broke off and a complete wheel has been lost. With Alexander?s help we got a spare part from Aletr Axles in Providenia. In the meantime we checked all other axle bearings and readjusted them. The most difficult part of it was to lift one side from the trailer which was completely sunken in snow.

5 p.m. Let?s continue!
Quote:
February 26, 2010: 124th short message (07:51 a.m. CET)

We just arrived in New Chaplena. But we will not stop and continue our drive right away to make use of the night light (very good view due to moonlight) and the icy temperatures of up to -35?C. We hope that the deep snow that now goes 20 km to the bay will freeze during the night and carry us.
Quote:
February 26, 2010: 125th short message (10:58 a.m. CET)

Got stuck for about 1.5 hours. We had to take the twin-tires off because the rims were breaking. Right now we are in the deep snow between New Chaplena and Sinavinslkie bay. We are accompanied by our two Skidoo drivers Vladimir and Konstantin who turn around and go back to Providenia now to sleep. They will join us again in the morning. Until Lavrentia, the new team member and substitute for Jefgeny is Valerie Borisovitsch, our friend from Providenia. He is driving in Rudi?s car and Victor is with me.

Quote:
February 27, 2010: 126th short message (00:32 a.m. CET)

08.30 a.m. Yesterday we made it up to 2.5 km in front of the bay. Since everybody was exhausted, we stopped to go to sleep. Weather is okay, winds with drifts at the ground (we are located in a valley, so downslope winds would be worse), the sky is clear. From our location we can already see the bay (or better: where it should be if there was water). We hope to manage the last two kilometers without complications. Then we will see how we get onto the ice.
Quote:
February 27, 2010: 127th short message (04:30 a.m. CET)

3 p.m. We arrived at the bay. After a short stop to put on our security clothing we continued. Let?s see if the ice will last. The entry was alright. By now, the crack froze again. Very good.




Quote:
February 27, 2010: 128th short message (06:23 a.m. CET)

04.30 p.m. F2 subsided. The water pushed into the right trail. We had to react fast. We managed it with a very long rope on the trailer of F1 and lots of winching. Now we are driving again.

05.30 p.m. A Skidoo driver is going back to Providenia due to hypothermia. We winch and crawl our way forward on deep snow on ice. First gear at creep rate.

Another 34 km to Jandrekinot.
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  #81  
Old 03-02-2010, 02:04 PM
BlueGerbil BlueGerbil is offline
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Location: Germany
Posts: 89
Quote:
February 27, 2010: 129th short message (10:14 a.m. CET)

F1 broke really badly into the snow. It sunk more than one meter into the snow. Underneath is water. It took us three hours to get it out again.

We are still at that place, trying to get over the crack that seems to be underneath. We move forwards half a meter and another half a meter with the help of sand sheets. It wouldn?t be possible without the sand sheets. We shovel, winch, pull, etc. It?s drudgery with no end.

Just now there was a little bit Russian romantic when we made a fire, made some tee (as well as coffee), cut some bread, ate some onions and sausage. We heard that Russian soldiers are doing it just like that.
Now we are trying to continue. It?s best if you just forget that you are in the middle of a bay on ice with 16 tons of weight. Then it?s fine. But if you think about it, you get queasy, even though the ice is about 80 cm thick.
Just now the wind slowed down, which caused the snowflakes to remain on the ground and not get swirled back in the air. For a couple of minutes we were able to see the lights of Jandrekinot in the far distance.
Quote:
February 27, 2010: 130th short message (11:24 a.m. CET)

How does it work, what we are doing here right now?
Tires 0.1 in the front and 0.2 in the rear.
First we try to get F1 through the deep snowfields by shoveling and with sand sheets. Then we winch the F! trailer with the rear winch on F1 from about 80 meters away to about 40 meters away. Then we use the F1 trailer to winch F2 and trailer and also help with sand sheets because otherwise F2 would also break in. Drudgery, but that?s the only way to do it.
Without the awesome winch system with pluggable winches in the front and rear: zero point zero chance. This is the only way to get the modified trailers with skid and one-axle-operation through it. The modifications were worth it. The material by Roka and BPW is great.
..........

Quote:
February 28, 2010: 131st short message (00:22 a.m. CET)

Have been on the ice of the bay for 24 hours now. It is an unbelievable drudgery. F1 and F2 broke completely into water traps. 200 m in 13 hours. What a bummer!
We were able to free ourselves from the worst water trap. We didn?t sleep since 10 a.m. yesterday morning. The team is doing well and mentally strong.
On it goes.
Quote:
February 28, 2010: 132nd short message (07:13 p.m. CET)

By now we have worked for 36 hours non-stop. As described, we got right into the water traps that we have been warned of and had to free ourselves from them. But there?s no other way than the bay. Therefore we have to get through it.
Especially the winching, next to the continuous shoveling and carrying of sand sheets is exhausting In order to winch F1 we need ice anchors. They consist of an about 80 cm long, round piece of wood around whose middle is tied a winch rope. Then we sink the piece of wood at right angle to the traction direction inside a snow hole which we have dug all the way to the ice. We add three additional ice stakes into this 80-100 cm deep hole and thus secure the piece of wood. Then we knock it as deep as possible into the ice on which the wooden piece lies. Due to the fact that there is water on the ice, this is a wet issue. The gloves freeze within seconds.
Quote:
February 28, 2010: 133rd short message (10:29 p.m. CET)

6 a.m. After having slept at least for a couple of hours, we take off again. Right now the temperature is -35?C. Therefore we hope that the water froze a little bit more so that we will be able to drive and not winch.
Quote:
March 01, 2010: 134th short message (07:22 a.m. CET)

We are currently at N 64?51.821? / W 172?43.365?.

Yesterday evening we managed to place both cars and both trailers together on a secure section of ?watersnow?. Then we fell into a deep sleep. Later that evening, when two Skidoo drivers and Vladimir and Jefgeny came from Providenia to visit us, at least I only noticed that while being half asleep.
Today everything worked out better. The low temperatures of the night caused the aspic-mixture to freeze. The new Wrangler MTR can prove their strengths once again and let us progress.

This watersnow is due to three huge cracks which form every year in the bay. Two of them are diagonally to the bay, one is parallel. On the photos that we will send, the third crack will be visible. The cracks are about 40-60 cm wide. The third crack, for example, had only about 10 cm of ice at one spot.

What caused us to slow down today were seal holes. Seals need air to breathe. But considering that everything is frozen, nature came up with an amazing instrument and gave the seals ?super breath?. With their super breath the seals aspirate holes into the ice in order to get to the fresh air. More or less circular holes form, which fill up with water. If it snows for a longer period of time, the holes blow over and a delusive layer forms.
We got caught in many of them today. Once we hit it with a front wheel, once with a rear wheel, once with a wheel of the trailer. There have to be many of those colleagues here.
If you drive over the holes with enough speed and break in, it will pull out you axle. This is because the holes with water and snow on top will cause an about 1.5 x 1.5 meters wide hole to arise. Therefore we have to go very slowly. This way we might still break in, but nothing will be damaged.
And it?s better not to try and close the holes by shoveling snow into them so that we can put sand sheets over them, because then it might be that you find the next hole with the next shovel and break in with your feet. And then you are wondering why you are suddenly 60 cm lower (this happened just like that).
Quote:
March 01, 2010: 135th short message (07:30 a.m. CET)

5 p.m. We just arrived at the mainland and thus in Jandrekinot. Awesome!
We are all happy to have made it through the bay. Great team!
Right away we were welcomed by a Skidoo. A father with two boys. Immediately after the police arrived. We were welcomed very friendly, they checked our paperwork. Everything alright.

Now we drive into the village and leave right after. The weather is great, but it will get really bad again. Due to the amazing and very accurate weather forecast of the German Weather Service, two hurricanes are expected. One will start on Friday. Until then, we are planning to have made a good part of the section towards Lavrentia.
Anyway, we are trying to reach a settlement before Lavrentia. If we can?t make it, we will have to stay in the cars during the hurricanes.

Let?s see how bad the section will be.
Quote:
March 01, 2010: 136th short message (07:06 p.m. CET)

3 a.m. We are progressing well. We just finished a little pass behind Jandrekinot and slept for three hours. We are already driving again because we have to make use of the weather. We are winding between two little mountain ranges and crazy snow drifts that are hard as concrete.

Current position: N 64?58.172? / W 172?25.621?
The team is doing well.
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  #82  
Old 03-04-2010, 12:20 PM
BlueGerbil BlueGerbil is offline
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Posts: 89
Quote:
March 02, 2010: 137th short message (09:45 p.m. CET)

Bad, bad.
Last night, after we heard a clicking noise from the left rear, we noticed that four of five stud bolts had fallen off. On closer inspection we realized that the stud bolts on the right side were also loose, just like the ones on F2. All bolts became loose in the track extensions, they swerved. But we need them, because the manufacturer, the original company who did the modifications, drilled the holes for the beadlock?s tube in the wrong place of the rim. All of that, having to take the tires down and putting them back on in the snow, exchanging the spare wheel, etc. caused us 12 hours of work under hardest terms. At around 7 p.m. a blizzard started. Bad, bad, bad.
Additionally, a stench arose in F2, which smelt like rotten eggs. We cleared out the whole car (you cannot imagine how tough this is under these terms). There was snow in/under/above/on the car, in the clothes, in the equipment, everything covered in snow. Finally we noticed that the battery in the back on the right side had a short-circuit, was very hot and threatened to explode. Therefore we removed it.
I cannot write anymore at the moment. We?re wiped out now. The storm is blowing again but we?re ready to depart. Outside it?s hard to bear. Some of us were developing frostbites on their face and hands. We took care that there were no unprotected places and we wore all protective clothing we have.

We hope to continue. Snowdrifts within minutes. Crazy.

Quote:
March 03, 2010: 138th short message (06:26 a.m. CET)

11 a.m. Are driving for quite a while at 5-10 meters sight. Only the GPS navigates.
But we have to continue. The blizzard now is just the foretaste of the two low-pressure systems which are expected to be here no later than two days from now. We try to stay on an old Vestichot track. At the moment we have 1,300 l gasoline and food for 14 days with us. In terms of figures we could endure the storms for 14 days in the tundra with the engine running non-stop. Additionally four days worth of food for an emergency, excluding an indoor heater by Webasto. After that it will be very hard to continue, because the lows will bring snow.
The team is doing well and strong. No permanent damage due to frostbites. Everybody warmed up again and has their feeling back in the places where frostbites have been.

4 p.m. No chance to do anything right now. We can?t see anything. Tough blizzard. There is no possibility to continue. We have parked the cars next to each other and placed a tent over the front of the cars to protect the engines.
We are going to eat something now and then lay down. Hopefully the storm will slow down at night, then we?ll continue.

Right now we are about 60 kilometres from Lorino at N 65?09.595 / W 172?12.403.
The iridium works. We can be reached via telephone, fax and e-mail. Everything is fine. Hopefully we won?t be stuck here forever.



















Quote:
March 03, 2010: 139th short message (07:16 p.m. CET)

4 a.m. It is still storming madly. By now, the snowdrifts around us are like a sandcastle. Without taking the wind into consideration, it?s a severe cold of about -30?C. With this wind this could easily be -40?C or lower. We can only take the gloves off for a few seconds. Just now we had to - among other things - refuel and wrap the air intake socket with cloth. We had to cover it with cloth because otherwise snow would get in, and that wouldn?t be good for the engine heating system. This entire procedure is crazy under these conditions. Within seconds you are covered in swirling snow, icicles form on you eyelashes as if they wanted to grow all the way to your chin.
Right when we stepped out of the cars I noticed a burnt smell. Immediately we started to look for its source. I remembered this situation in Jakutsk where we were also in the middle of a blizzard. Back then, ice blocked the fan engines and they burned through. When we opened the hood of F2 we noticed that this was the case here as well. Once again, F2 causes us work before we can continue.
For now we carved the cars in snow, covered the entire lower part with snow. This will not be any fun when we have to get back out of it. Boy, oh boy!
Apart from that, the vehicles work, even though they are not completely air tight (in a snow storm like that, snow gets inside through every little gap/seal ? just like in the desert, the sand also gets everywhere).

Other than that, the team is doing well, all is okay.
Our position is still the same: N 65?09.549 / W 172?12.404
Quote:
March 04, 2010: 140th short message (08:31 a.m. CET)

Captured in the blizzard, we are sitting tight.
It?s not really that nice and takes a lot of nerves. The storm is pulling on the vehicles, the protection, the constructional systems. We hardly see anything, our clothes are wet, partly frosted, the feet are cold, the insides of the car where we change our heavy clothing is rather small. And whoever might think that we are lazily sitting in the car for 30 hours now, is badly mistaken.
First, the temperature of F2 rose. Currently F2 is without a fan because we were not able to repair it in this storm. Then, one after another, the indoor fans of both cars gave out. This was very aggravating because this was the last option to cool the engine of F2 down; and it was also starting to get damned cold in F1.
After removing the glove compartment, we noticed that the fans were completely covered with snow ? despite the fact that we completely sealed the air intakes with cloths. Ice and snow got into the fans and threatened to block them. In my head I already started to dislocate my joints in order to acrobatically climb from my driver?s seat over Victor, the passenger?s seat, between the computers, etc. And dive head-first into the foot space. Just like this and while the blood started to flood into my brain, I wanted to remove the fan. But Victor had a better idea.
In the meantime it had gotten really cold in the car (because the cooler for the engine was off), we had turned on the Webasto heaters. It was releasing roaring heat and it is so genius that we used two curing tube extensions (which I had brough to Egvekinot just in case) and Victors idea to divert the air jet right onto the heater unit inside the dashboard. This way, the ice melted within minutes and the fan was working again, just like the heater. After using the same method on the second vehicle, the temperature of F2?s engine can be regulated again.
By now, we also use the hot-air jet of the Webasto heater to heat our water. It won?t boil this way, but it gets really hot. Amazing.
Besides that there is always the anxiety that the next component won?t last. The snowdrifts pile up. We have to dig out F2 from the snow every other hour, because otherwise we wouldn?t be able to open the doors again. We scrape the ice and the snow off the insides of the doors; dislocate our feet in order to get closer to the upper air jet. The one down below is too weak, the foot space has about zero degrees. This is not for the faint-hearted.
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  #83  
Old 03-07-2010, 04:03 AM
BlueGerbil BlueGerbil is offline
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More new photos at http://bit.ly/auCc7D





Quote:
March 03, 2010: 141st short message (01:46 a.m. CET)

7 a.m. The storm slowed down for awhile. This gave us the chance to repair the fan of F2 in five hours. We have to further protect F2 with snow and built a protection for the ?restroom? (igloo style). All of it to better the conditions in which we have to refuel the tanks, even though it is still tough. We were able to improve the state of our position.

A continuation is still not possible, yet. The sight is less than ten meters.
The team is doing well, the atmosphere is good, the Russian-German friendship very strong, excellent companionship. Engines are working. Position remains unchanged.
Quote:
March 05, 2010: 142nd short message (08:46 p.m. CET)

6 a.m. After the third night, on the third day, the storm finally slowed down. Less snow is in the air. The sight is about 50-60 m.

We will start to dig out the cars and defrost the axles and gear box with the Webasto hot-air jet (the oil froze; we cannot start driving like that). It will take approximately eight hours. Then ? if the weather didn?t change by then ? we will try to continue our journey.
Quote:
March 06, 2010: 143rd short message (01:29 a.m. CET)

11 a.m. We dug F1 out and are now trying to make a track. The burner-lamp doesn?t work. Even the Webasto jet that we are trying to point at the axles gets blown away by the storm. Thus we cannot heat the oil up ? we have to try it like this.

The sight remained at about 50 meters. Hopefully we will be able to ?break out?.

2 p.m. We started.
Quote:
March 06, 2010: 144th short message (05:46 a.m. CET)

The break-out succeeded. We fight our way meter for meter. Just now we managed two difficult ice passages and thus reached a headland.

Current position: N 65?13.176 / W 172?12.393
Quote:
March 06, 2010: 145th short message (09:39 a.m. CET)

8.30 p.m. Just now we took a break after a difficult inclined drive and a rise with many snow drifts from the shore all the way to the seafront. We drank some warm coffee and ate something.

Outside is a raging storm again and we also turn up. But this time we turn up the music. After the last few days in imprisonment and today?s break-out, we are just happy for once. We turn up the music as far as it will go and send each other one song after another via radio.

Thanks to Christopher, Rudi has a mere endless supply of songs of all kinds. And I have enough songs on the hard drive of F1 to create a hit parade. Oh well, once in a while even we need that.

Anyway, it?s awesome that we are no longer stuck in the snowstorm. Let?s see if we can manage the pass that?s ahead of us.

Three kilometers ago we noticed during a stop that F2?s upper axle bearing in the front swerves. The long-arm dangles. Oh well, as usual we use some belts and copper wire, the strength of two men, some luck, a protection against the wind, one hour, and the thing is almost welded ? except that it?s only ?welded? with cloth. Let?s see how long that will last.

The team is doing well. Our current position: N 65?15.710 / W 172?12.030
Quote:
March 06, 2010: 146th short message (01:15 p.m. CET)

11 p.m. Awesome: During snow flurries, wind, in the middle of the night and sometimes no sight at all, we reached the pass at N 65?17.119 / W 172?13.385
Quote:
March 06, 2010: 147th short message (11:56 p.m. CET)

We will stop now to get some sleep.

Current position: N 65?20.164 / W 172?12.642

Quote:
March 07, 2010: 148th short message (01:33 a.m. CET)

9 a.m. The weather is better. We can see around 60-80 m, less wind, less snow.

Now, after some hours of sleep, we will continue.

Our position: N 65?20.891 / W 172?12.383

We just met two hunters with a russian snow mobile, who were pulling a hunting boat made from walrus skins. Awesome, but at the same time it?s crazy that they can actually go in the water with this. The person using it must be very light; the paddles are hardly 10 cm wide. Interesting how they also want to pull seals in there.

12.30 p.m. We are approaching Lorino. Severe snow drifts complicate advancement. Again and again we have to uncouple the F1 trailer, make a track with F1 and sand sheets, load everything, attach the trailer, and continue.

Current position: N 65?23.002 / W 172?11.084

Quote:
March 07, 2010: 149th short message (05:01 a.m. CET)

At N 65?24.934 / W 172?09.521, we just arrived at a refuge for fishermen. There we met two hunting parties from Lorina who are hunting seals. Warm welcome. Now we have about another 25 km to Lorino. We take a short break, then we have to refuel and then we will fight our way again.
Quote:
March 07, 2010: 150th short message (07:26 a.m. CET)

6 p.m. We arrived at a spiritual place of the Chukots. Our position is N 65?27.359 / W 172?06.597. At this place on the narrow headland, bones of whales are sticking up into the air for meters.

They were erected here as a spiritual memorial. Sacrifices are made here, as Victor explains to me. That?s what we do. As a representative for all of us, Victor goes to the bones with good food ? our favorite chocolate, bread, etc. ? and gives it to the gods as appeasement. We will see if it helps. When Victor climbs back into the car and sits for a moment, his knife, which he had placed tightly in the dashboard right in front of him, falls into the foot space. Actually this isn?t possible.

Even if you pull on it you can?t get it loose and he didn?t even touch it. Strange. This was the first time that it fell down and he thinks it?s a sign that the gods have seen us and said okay.

Now Rudi gets out of the car as well, wants to see the place by himself. He is standing there for a while, facing away from us, looking into the far distance.

Maybe this is really a magical place.

By now it is dark. Nobody says anything. Neither in the car, nor via radio. Everyone is in thoughts and somehow it is as if the expedition stood still in everyone?s minds as well for a moment.

I will get some sleep here.

Quote:
March 07, 2010: 151st short message (09:00 a.m. CET)

The last 5 km were really tiring. We had to uncouple and attach the trailer about 40 times, made a track, drove back, etc. But now we reached the utter end of the headland at N 65?29.027 / W 172?04.992. This means that only 15 km are left until Lorino. We have to drive 1-3 km over sea ice in order to get onto the other headland. But this depends on the ice situation. We won?t go about it at night. We wait for daylight,

Team alright, fuel reserves okay. The engine of F1 stutters due to problems with its fuel supply. At the next opportunity we will have to clean the fuel pump. Additionally we have had an overheated servo steering; air in the system. When we weld the axle of F2, we also have to repair this.

We lay down to sleep. It was a tough day.
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  #84  
Old 03-10-2010, 09:32 AM
BlueGerbil BlueGerbil is offline
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March 08, 2010: 152nd short message (06:56 a.m. CET)

8 a.m. We started. 15 km on ice and a headland lie between us and Lorino. We hope that we?ll make it today.

4.30 p.m. After eleven days in snow and ice ? on a track which, according to our information, has never been covered by cars, let alone with trailers and of one?s own accord, four men depending on themselves ? we just reached Lorino. Considering that many people didn?t think we could make it, we are more than just a little pleased.

5.30 p.m. After an affectionate greeting with many children, the registration and check of the papers, we are going back on the road and heading towards Lavrentia now. 43 km.

Current position: N 65?32.323 / W 171?16.683
Quote:
March 08, 2010: 153rd short message (12:56 p.m. CET)

Midnight. We reached the suburbs of Lavrentia. Currently we are three kilometers outside of the city on a hill (current Position: N 65?35.577 / W 171?04.660) and decided to stay here for the night, drive to the city tomorrow morning.

At this point I would like to thank Valeriy, a great guy. A man who doesn?t care that others thought he?s crazy when he decided to accompany the expedition.

Thank you for helping us out. We liked to travel with you, you have been a great fellow, tough and reliable. Thank you for your cheerful nature and your high spirits! Valeriy will now go back to Providenia and Konstantin Savva will take his place in the team. Therefore the team remains equally parted in Russian/German team members.
Quote:
March 09, 2010: 154th short message (02:19 a.m. CET)

We will drive into the city now. From here to Uelen it is another 80 km linear distance. We will check up on the cars for the next 2-3 days and try to drive towards Uelen at the end of the week.
Find more pictures at http://www.facebook.com/album.php?ai...5873841&ref=mf









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  #85  
Old 03-15-2010, 10:40 AM
BlueGerbil BlueGerbil is offline
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march 10, 2010: 155th short message (08:16 p.m. Cet)

we received a very warm welcome here in lavrentia. Immediately after we drove into the city, the head of administration welcomed us. They organized everything for us, a small apartment with kitchen, a warm box in which we can repair the cars (partly we already got some things done, e.g. Welding of the front axles, modification of the tires, changing batteries, checking everything, etc.).

Really awesome. A very sincere welcome in this exceptional city at the end of chukotka. We were invited to have a little presentation in the cultural center of the city tomorrow.

Currently we plan to leave for uelen at the weekend.
Quote:
march 12, 2010: 156th short message (05:59 a.m. Cet)

following up on the invitation, we visited the school today. There were about 80 children who attended our little speech. Afterwards we were invited to an excellent meal in the school?s assembly hall.
Slowly, the preparations for the safety during the bering strait crossing come to a final. Right now we are checking/completing the emergency equipment. The cars are almost ready. We only have to dismantle/reattach the tanks to clean the fuel pump, check/adjust the wheel bearings of the trailers, fuel up, do some grocery shopping, and then we weill try to get back on the street on sunday morning.
...

Quote:
march 14, 2010: 157th short message (11:50 p.m. Cet)

we will take off towards uelen in about three hours. A difficult track with many inclinations and five passes lies ahead of us. Furthermore there will be a narrow spot with open water from a river.
Behind us, a storm is building which puts pressure on us. A storm warning has already been given to the administration. We hope not to be hit full on by the storm and to arrive in uelen in 3-4 days.
Team is doing alright. From now on we can only be reached via satellite mail.
...

Quote:
march 15, 2010: 158th short message (08:01 a.m. Cet)

just hit the road. Driving in darkness. Had problems with trailer of f2 and the new servo pump of f1 broke down once again. Luckily we had another one. Now it just cannot brake down again.
Another 100km to the easternmost place of asia.
Quote:
march 15, 2010: 159th short message (01:36 p.m. Cet)

we left at 6.30 p.m.
On recommendation of vestichot drivers from lavrentia, we crossed the large bay of lavrentia ? of course on ice ? in a western curve. The entire distance on ice: 8 km. No problem, except for some cracks that we could easily drive around. But then, a difficult sedimentation at the shore with 800 m steep inclination.
Sensational, how the wrangler mt/rs clung to the snow.

Now, our position is n 65?39.811 / w 170?53.617
about 92 km to uelen left.
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  #86  
Old 03-18-2010, 01:14 PM
BlueGerbil BlueGerbil is offline
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March 15, 2010: 160th short message (04:03 p.m. CET)

Nine hours for 14 kilometers ? not bad.

Current position: N 65?44.185 / W 170?53.227

Everything is okay. 86 km to go.
............

Quote:
March 16, 2010: 161st short message (00:30 a.m. CET)

8 a.m. After four hours of sleep, a lukewarm cup of coffee and a couple of cookies, we continued our drive. Our way (GPS-track which is usually used be the Vestichot supply drivers) leads us across a large plateau which is ? in the distance ? framed by ridges. The impression of endless vastness is amplified by dazzling light that spreads through snow, haze and sunrays.

Vanishingly small, like a ?nothing?, we slowly move through this vastness with our vehicles and trailers. The speed of 2 km/h is doing the rest.



At this point we would like to say a special thank you to the administration and the ?JHK?, Lavrentia?s communal service, for their help and support. Especially the provision of the two working areas in the local garages for the repair of our two vehicles was a big help.




Quote:
March 16, 2010: 162nd short message (00:55 a.m. CET)

12 p.m. Are progressing well. Current position: N 65?50.593 / W 170?50.588

There?s a storm in Anadyr and Providenia, while we are driving through the most beautiful sunshine. The weather forecast ? according to which the storm is supposed to pass right over us ? is amazingly good. Right now we are in the midst of a high, which squeezed between two low-pressure systems. I am dumbfounded about how great the weather data of the DWD are that we receive, and completely rely on these information to a 100% in all regards.

70 km to go.

Quote:
March 16, 2010: 163rd short message (05:06 a.m. CET)

4 p.m. Another damage on the fan?s engine. It slowed us down. Afterwards we entered the most difficult part of the section: a canyon that is difficult to drive and that ends in the inclination to a pass. Great, we are digging for two hours at the same spot. Difficult/tired.

Quote:
March 16, 2010: 164th short message (12:01 p.m. CET)

5 p.m. Moved forwards meter for meter. But now there is absolutely no sight for the drivers. Due to the light, snow and haze, we can?t recognize any outlines anymore, even with our yellow glasses anymore. Everything is a white-blue soup. Decided to take a break and stay for the night. We will sleep for about three hours. Then we will try to drive/work for the rest of the night. Are approximately 500 meters before the first of five passes.

7.30 p.m. A horrible sound wakes me from my sleep. My engine? I pull the door open. No, everything?s fine. Then it has to be Rudi?s car. What a bummer! I jump out, stumble drowsily towards F2, fall, and then see two lights that appear behind F2: a drilled out Vestichot or one without an exhaust pipe.
Wow, man. Nobody needs a scare like that.
The bottom line is that this turned out to be good for us because a) we would have had to get up anyway, and b) the Vestichot now prepares a track, at least for a couple of kilometers before it heads towards Naschken. We can follow this track and have it a little easier. We drive in the track with one wheel and only have to shovel for the other. Once again a great coincidence.

Durrent position: N 65?54.331 / W 170?43.951
Everything alright.
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  #87  
Old 03-22-2010, 04:09 PM
BlueGerbil BlueGerbil is offline
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Quote:
March 16, 2010: 165th short message (10:30 p.m. CET)



4 a.m. We were shoveling for 4.5 hours only to get out of the canyon. 12 tons of snow were relocated. ;-) We rectified the inclination. We are literally on our last legs.

60 km to go. We will take some sleep now.



8 a.m. Sunlight wakes us only to present the next nasty inclination right in front of us in the most beautiful light ? no, this can?t be true.

It?s twice as long as the one from last night and just as steep ? oh boy!





March 16, 2010: 166th short message (22:50 p.m. CET)



How awesome is that?

We just drove all the way up!



1.5 km later we are now located at N 65?57.574 / W 170?33.869 beneath a hill, aslope in an inclination, heading towards North. We have the most beautiful sunshine and to our right we have a wonderful view and can see the Bering Strait with Radmadov Island (Big Diomede) right in the middle, between two mountains. The inclination that we are standing on, declines all the way to the Bering Strait until it evens out in ice. Why can?t we just take turn her?



To our left we can clearly see traces from wolves. An amazing image in an amazing landscape.





March 17, 2010: 167th short message (03:30 a.m. CET)



We tackled the next pass. Right now, we are stuck below the highest point of the pass for three hours. We are shoveling with our sand sheets, uncoupling, attaching. We are busy. Additionally: F2 only turns until 4000 1/min and F1 only until 2500 1/min. After that there is only jerking and then they stall. We assume there must be dirt in the tank.



40 km to go.





March 17, 2010: 168th short message (06:09 a.m. CET)



After six hours we arrived at the highest point of the pass. The view from here is gigantic. In the distance, we can see the end of Russia, the end of Asia. The last mountains before the Bering Strait can be seen on the horizon. For the first time I can see the end of the journey though Asia.

Behind us, the sun sets and submerges everything in a sea of red/orange color. According to our map there are 30 km and a pass left.



Current position: N 66?00.786 / W 170?26.039





March 17, 2010: 169th short message (10:53 a.m. CET)



A race against time has begun. According to the weather forecast we will be hit by a storm tomorrow, Thursday, around noon. It will also bring snow. Are fighting our fatigue off. Currently we are standing in a riverbed at N 66?01.777 / W 170?17.780



After many attempts, F1 made it up the hill. Now the trailer and then F2. Along these 100 m we can only winch. Wind is starting. First gusts are already here and raise the snow. Hopefully we?ll make it and don?t have to stay for days in the storm. 22 km to go.





March 17, 2010: 170th short message (07:46 p.m. CET)



Had to stop last night at around 2 a.m. Standing, we were alright. I was hardly able to keep my eyes open. Especially now, after five hours of winching and shoveling to get out of the river. But we made it.

We agreed to sleep for 30 minutes, then we wanted to continue. Unfortunately our ?night watch? ? who was supposed to remain awake ? fell asleep as well after (according to his own account ;-)) trying to wake me up several times.



Whatever? Just some minutes ago (6 a.m.) we woke up. We have?



beautiful weather and ? the sun just starts rising behind the last Russian mountains. It looks as if it raises from the Bering Sea.

We see the end of the continent, the Bering Strait, ice, Radmanov Island ? amazing.



Now we will eat some breakfast.





March 17, 2010: 171st short message (09:47 p.m. CET)



It?s a little bizarre. From our current position (N 66?02.949 / W 170?08.608) we can see ?the real yesterday? (little Diomede / Alaska) for the first time.

Looks like today, but how should they know. ;-)



17 km to go.





March 17, 2010: 172nd short message (11:10 p.m. CET)



8.47 a.m. First intervisibility with Uelen. On the horizon we were able to see the houses of Uelen for a short moment.



14 km to go.





March 18, 2010: 173rd short message (00:08 a.m. CET)



10.45 a.m. After all, a race on the last few meters. This cannot be true. The storm that was supposed to be here by noon, sends messenger after messenger. The wind increases, clouds cast shadows. Menacing they arrive from all sides, seem to surround us. They seem to sink sown. We press ourselves to the ground, try to squeeze underneath them, and try not to get caught. They are snow clouds. The blizzard awaits us. In some places it?s snowing already. It?s threatening us, as it seems.



Position: N 66?05.036 / W 170?00.475

8 km to go.





March 18, 2010: 174th short message (01:26 a.m. CET)



12.30 p.m. 6 km until we arrive in Uelen. The blizzard starts. Only 40 m visibility left.





March 18, 2010: 175th short message (05:05 a.m. CET)



What a welcome, what a welcome. Many came, laughed, and were happy with us. The cars received the signatures of at least all children from Uelen ;-) and many others. Lavrentia was immediately informed that we arrived.

Our has already been arranged. We have a small room in a house of one of Victor?s friends.



The team will take a little break now. Then, as soon as possible, we will start repairing the cars and make preparations for the Bering Strait.





March 18, 2010: 176th short message (09:41 a.m. CET)



8 p.m. Parked the trailers in front of the house, found a box for the cars, ate some warm food. Are going to sleep now. We got an invitation for a speech in the school tomorrow. Additionally, we to take care of several administrative issues, etc.





Thanks to Russia



I hesitated until now, BUT it looks like we have the opportunity to arrive. 2 km to go.



On this day, the day that we arrive at the end of Russia and thus the end of Asia, I would like to write a Thank You to Russia.



?Today, personally and representative for all who have been a part of this and who will be a part of this, I bow low for the people of Russia and thank the government/administration of this country. Thank you for giving the expedition ?Paris / New York ? Transcontinental? the privilege to drive through your country and collect so many unbelievable experiences. I will not forget what you have offered for the PNY-expedition. It is the big heart of Russia that can give hospitality as I?ve never seen it anywhere else in the world. It is the Russian tradition, culture and people that deserve respect and reckoning.

It is a special, an extraordinary important culture.



Thank you.

Matthias Jeschke





Thanks to Uelen



Right now there are bits and pieces of words, half sentences or sometimes complete phrases running through my head.

The time has come for a few thoughts ? today.



In the radio of my car are playing songs that have accompanied me for years. It is comfortably warm in the car, the mind wanders.

Every once in a while I get reminded how insignificant a few millimeters of iron sheet and glass around us are. Without the engine running, the 75? difference in temperature that we already had, wouldn?t be kept for longer than a couple of minutes.



There are probably many people who consider what we do as pointless. There will be people who smile at us and there might be people that we/I have upset during our trip to Uelen.

It could be. And hereby I would like to apologize - personally and representative - to those whom we knowingly or unknowingly upset.



If we fail the upcoming attempt of the Bering Strait crossing or not, if people vilify us or not, if people laugh about us/me or not, there is one thing that we definitely achieved: many people got to know one another, accomplished the extraordinary and were a part of a special journey. These contacts, meeting, conversations, etc. have left memories within each and every one of us. Even if only a very little piece has left an impression, is memorable ? a connection of the most different cultures during the long way to the end of Asia.



Credit goes to all people, beginning in Paris, it is a journey of all of us who have been with us or helped, personally or in their thoughts, actively or passively. I hope to have given each and every one of you the feeling of gratitude. If this was not the case, I would like to apologize for this as well and would like to make up for it right now.



There are small, big, extraordinary and unbelievable efforts that the most different people have given us.

I cannot name all of the people that the project so far is indebted to. They are just too many. But representative to all who have contributed extraordinarily, I would like to tell the story of a little boy:

In a village that we drove through, he came at me. Wrapped in warm clothing, he came with his mother from somewhere through the cold just to meet us. When he arrived at my car, he gave me his hand. And when I was going to shake his hand to say hello, I noticed that he didn?t want to give me his hand, but that he wanted to give me a present. There was a small lucky charm in his thick mitten.

He wanted to give me some luck.

This little man, who was smiling from ear to ear, gave the expedition and me some luck. He might never know how happy I was about this moment, but I want everyone to know how extraordinary his effort was.

From the view of a child, waiting for strangers, with cars that you can gaze at or be afraid of, covered in thick clothing through the bone-chilling cold, going to a complete stranger, smiling at him who hasn?t done anything for it and give him a present, that?s extraordinary. He didn?t know that I have two sons who haven?t seen for way too long and how much I think about them every day, how much I miss them. He didn?t know how much strength to continue I was able to take from his act. But he has made a special contribution when I got down on my knees and gratefully took the present.

As important as the effort of this little boy was, many adults have done things that touched us, that made us happy, that helped, that built bridges, that connected, that made borders and obstacles disappear.



I thank all of you.

Sincerely, Matthias Jeschke



P.S.: Current position of both vehicles and trailer since 1.45 p.m.: N 66?09.169 / W 169?48.928 = 200 m away from Uelen. We don?t know of any other vehicle that has made it all the way to Uelen from Paris by its own accord along the southern route ? let alone not with trailers.


Find some photos at http://www.facebook.com/album.php?ai...5873841&ref=mf
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  #88  
Old 03-23-2010, 03:08 AM
BlueGerbil BlueGerbil is offline
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Current position: N 66? 09.630 W 169? 48.928

Check Google Maps: http://bit.ly/aFilUG

Quote:
March 22, 2010: 177th short message (11:20 a.m. CET)

First, the entire team would like to say Thank You for all the congratulations we received. It motivates us, it?s great. Thank you.

Regarding the weather it looks really bad at the moment. Chukotka is under control of two low-pressure systems and here, at the easternmost point, the wind changed from south to north. This, along with the low-pressure systems with storms, is well and truly raining on our parade right now.
Oh well, without the kindness of the good weather of the last days, we wouldn?t be here. Therefore we wait and prepare ourselves.
We use the time to sort and arrange the equipment, we try on our survival suits, we prepare the first aid kits, we repair and modify the technical equipment like lamps, telephones, notebooks, the wiring, etc., we break our Bunny Boots in, study maps, hold conversations with whale and seal hunters about the currents, the ice, weather and ice conditions. Furthermore we held a school and a cultural speech, received a special concert by the local dance group with traditional dances, took a shower, etc.

By the way, the bad weather is really controlling the entire of Chukotka at the moment. Almost all flights are cancelled.
Even flights from Moscow are unable to land in Anadyr. They were redirected to Magadan and then send back. Many people in the different villages, cities, etc. cannot come forth. They are waiting for connecting flights.

Once again, waiting is necessary ? and that?s not easy. It costs just as much nerves as the actual driving. Well, let?s see.
By the way, Rudi is working on his Russian language skills and Victor is organizing like a pro again.
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  #89  
Old 03-31-2010, 12:55 PM
BlueGerbil BlueGerbil is offline
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Quote:
March 26, 2010: 178th short message (05:08 a.m. CET)

Good days are different.

Unexpectedly we had to leave our accommodation the day before yesterday because the person with whom we lived up until now, wanted to take a helicopter that was supposed to arrive but which didn?t arrive in the end. We only had a few hours to find a new accommodation and thus were running up and down the streets anxiously, asked people, the administration, the weather station, etc. Finally, we found a small, empty apartment.

Now ? after rearranging and completely cleaning it in a heave-ho action ? it is our apartment. Then, we had to move the same night. All of our equipment, tools, clothes, sleeping-bags, shoes, the whole rescue equipment, etc. ? just everything ? had to be moved. First we carried as much as each of us could take and walked to the other end of Uelen. Then a driver of a Russian Buran that also had a skid trailer came and offered to help us. Then the children came and in the end we were surrounded by people who held the things on the skid in place, accompanied us, carried things, talked and helped, etc.

Anyway, the move means more privacy for the team. Everyone has its own sleeping area now (or something similar to that). We have a table and a ceramic piece that was supposed to be a toilet bowl with a spray flushing. Oh well, at least we don?t have to carry water for the toilet.

Instead we have to carry fresh water which gets delivered to the outside and which we have to carry inside the apartment in buckets.

But much more that this little story annoy me the processes in connection with the US-authorities in Moscow. You can really get a flash because of their mindset and behavior. Concerning this matter, yesterday was once again a really sh*tty day. After receiving a nice letter on behalf of an American supervisor, we had to react fast.

The US-authority called Victor Burstein, the most deserving of all who helped us, without whom the expedition with American vehicles NEVER would have reached Uelen, to Moscow, to clarify some documents. Yesterday, these people actually asked for evidence to prove the existence of the expedition. You won?t believe that this is true. I was very upset about this.

Therefore, Victor is now traveling from Uelen!! To Moscow because the American Embassy is actually AMERICA. But nobody cares that the vehicles are American vehicles.

It?s strange that on the other hand we receive more and more inquiries by American magazines and newspapers who want to publish and describe the historic accomplishments of the expedition with the ?oh so great American vehicles?. I cannot answer because it makes my stomach churn if I only think about how we have been let down by an American partner, how we hung in there despite it, how Victor has to crawl to Moscow now, etc.

Meanwhile we prepare ourselves and the vehicles and were also able to take a decent shower in the heating factory (even though I was a little bit surprised that Rudi wanted to take a shower again. He was able to enjoy a shower just a couple of days ago ;-)).



Quote:
March 26, 2010: 179th short message (05:52 a.m. CET)

Don?t give up and make the impossible possible.

Together with some very very special supporters and friends, Victor is in an airplane on his way to Moscow. He is a hero. Nobody except for him, the great people who supported us in Russia and the EE-Office including the Flugb?rse in Germany, could have done this. Traveling from Uelen to Moscow in only two days.

Boy, I am so mad at some US-bureaucrats.







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  #90  
Old 04-11-2010, 09:15 AM
BlueGerbil BlueGerbil is offline
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March 31, 2010: 180th short message (09:11 p.m. CET)

Uelen surely is different from any other village that we have visited/driven through until now. It seems that time, language, habits and life take different ways here. Life literally happens on the streets here?
We received three invitations. Three visits with people/families that couldn?t have been more different, three experiences with impressions that can make you thoughtful.

Other than that, the days pass while we work on the vehicles. We relieve the cars from as much weight as possible, modify the tanks, change the luggage racks, open the roofs to make room for an emergency exit, mount the outboard engines, arrange the components of the lifting system, prepare the hydraulics, repair damages that occurred on our way from Lavrentia to Uelen, and so on?

By now the storm, which brought icy northern winds and a windchill factor of -40?C, has decreased. It controlled Uelen for the last few days and took everything but the kitchen sink. At least now we no longer have to wear hats and jackets when we are in our apartment. And until now thousands of ice crystals have blocked our view but finally a few centimeters have melted away from the windows.

I also sent a couple of pictures from the modifications in the garage, which has been built right on the beach. When we are lying underneath the cars, we are sort of also on Uelen?s beach.

Other pictures show chukot food and wood craft.
............
Quote:
April 1, 2010: 181th short message (01:37 a.m. CET)

How unusual.

I asked Victor to take the train from outside into Moscow on Sunday night instead of Monday morning. He arrived in Moscow on Monday morning at around 7 a.m. To get to his meeting with the German Embassy, he had to take the underground line. Only one hour later a bomb exploded on that same line.
Via my office we were promptly notified about the terrorist attack and were very worried. Also, because at that time we were not able to contact Victor via telephone. Later we heard that his cell phone was stored at the gate of the German Embassy. Everything is fine ? guardian angels and good spirits seem to be with Victor nonstop at the moment.

How positive.

This morning we had a great start of the day. First we received extraordinarily good news from an authority in the United States, then Victor called to let me know that his meeting with the US-Embassy went great and then ? almost like a coronation ? we received a letter by the Russian administration, granting the PNY-expedition to officially leave Russia via the ?non-border point? Uelen.
We appreciate the cooperation and would like to sincerely thank all involved people, ministries and authorities.
Quote:
April 1, 2010: 182nd short message (10:14 a.m. CET)

How annoying. Why should a day ever be completely good?

Some agreements don?t seem to matter all that much. Today, the women whom we rented the apartment from called and told us that we have to leave the apartment, even though we cleaned the whole apartment, fixed the water pipe in the kitchen and repaired the toilet, additionally to the agreed payment. Is that woman crazy? We have an agreement for a whole month. Boy, things like this annoy me so much.
Look like she is trying to take advantage of us. Especially, because ? after I was really agitated ? she offered us on the telephone to remain in the apartment if we paid the triple amount.
Whatever. We will not leave the apartment before the end of our month and thus are expecting ? for the first time in Russia ? troubles. Hopefully there are some people in Uelen or St. Petersburg where she lives who make her understand that this is not right.

The good news:

Today, we mounted and started the first Tohatsu Outboard engine for the first time after 1.5 years in which they have been transported (unprotected, in a lying position, standing, shaking-dust-and-coldness, on trailers, several rearrangements, ice and snow). At the second ignition, it worked. It?s just amazing. Let?s hope that the second outboard engine will do the same tomorrow.
Quote:
April 2, 2010: 183rd short message (11:47 a.m. CET)

Last night we were invited to join the audience during a dancing rehearsal of an Eskimo group. We were excited about a little mongoloid boy who learned a lot on those two hours of dancing.

We were able to fix the bad situation with the landlord in that we can stay in the apartment until the end of the agreed month to the agreed conditions. It was very difficult and cost a lot of nerves, but oh well.

Today we have a new problem. The GPS Spot emergency system doesn?t work and the awesome people from the manufacturing company are not capable or willing to call back, let alone find a solution for this problem. We (the expedition) were only planning to rely on it in the case of a necessary rescue mission. I am anxious to see how they want to fix this ? anyway, it is unnecessary like a struma when things like this don?t work and especially if you have to sit at home all day as if you didn?t have other things to do, just because those guys can?t call back as discussed.

At least Rudi didn?t let grass grow under his feet. He visited the local power and heat supply station with the video/photo equipment and had someone explain to him how it worked. He was allowed to inspect the technology that keeps most everything alive. Nice men are there who will welcome us anytime. Especially Slava, the 70-years old chief-heater who looks like 50-60 and has muscles like a 40-years old bodybuilder, is very outgoing. Once and again we have been sitting together, drank some tea, listened to his story; sometimes no one says a word and everyone is in his own thoughts.

The living situation here is unique and special, here, on this two-rows-of-houses-wide piece of land between the Bering Strait and the lagoon in which Uelen is located. People adapt and live according to nature sets the course.
Quote:
April 06, 2010: 184th short message (12:34 p.m. CET)

The second Tohatsu Outboard engine is working and the modifications of the vehicles in the little garage progress.
However, there are parameters that keep us from starting the crossing of the Bering Strait at the moment. On the one hand we have to wait for the customs clearance by the Russian border and customs services; and on the other hand the weather situation is anything but ideal right now.
One storm/low pressure system is followed by the next. Strong winds from north do cause a strong concentration of ice in the Bering Strait, but due to the overall weather conditions a start is not possible.

We wait.
Quote:
April 9, 2010: 185th short message (11:51 a.m. CET)

If I didn?t know better, I would think the Bermuda is here. Slowly it is becoming eerie here.

First, we have to send Victor to Moscow where he only scarcely sidesteps the terror attacks. Then an earthquake happened in a close range to our location (at N 65.3 / W 170.7) yesterday morning.
We don?t know the entire context yet, but the wave that was caused by the seismic shock (which was measured with 4.7), seems to be responsible for that the ice along the coast of Uelen broke off completely in the morning hours. ?Know me over with a feather!?
In order to get a better view of it we hiked for about 10 km along the crack until we were almost at ?the three brothers? (a lump of rock before the cap). Interesting.
At the same time we meet some local hunters who make use of the broken ice to hunt and go fishing.
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